The rise of streaming is bringing major sporting events to a global audience and pushing up media rights revenues. This will drive media sport rights revenues up 75 per cent over the 7 years period from 2018 till 2025 from $48.6 billion (€44.5bn) to $85.1 billion.
Association football will increase its already dominant share of that pie from 25.1 per cent ($12.8 billion) in 2018 to 37.4 per cent ($31.9 billion), primarily through increased viewership of Europe’s top leagues in other regions, especially Asia Pacific, including China, and North America. Other sports will also benefit from the fan base expansion generated by globalisation and greater streaming distribution, notably basketball.
These are among the primary conclusions of the latest report from Rethink TV, the specialist video forecasting arm of Rethink Technology Research, called Globalization lifts TV sports rights past $85 billion future. Sports Rights Forecast to 2025. A strong subtext of the report is that direct to consumer services are creeping up on the sports rights industry, stealthily with deadly intent for broadcasters. Even technology giants such as Amazon are now disrupting the traditional field of sporting rights will themselves have to adapt to the growing reality of D2C if they are to have a future as major players in sports video distribution.
Television itself brought the first wave of disruption for sports over 50 years ago, followed around 25 years ago by subscription pay TV, bringing unparalleled riches and huge growth in exposure beyond traditional fan bases. The maturation of streaming is now bringing another major gear shift, both by intensifying competition for rights and changing the viewing experience, with greater levels of personalisation and interactivity, as well as innovations in presentation with proliferation of ancillary content.
Availability of audience data linked to advanced analytics has created the potential for making changes in the sports themselves, considering fans behaviour during viewing, as has occurred in the case of basketball in the US.
Streaming has also stimulated piracy to the extent that content protection has become a factor in the rights auctions alongside quality of viewing experience, so that contracts no longer go automatically to the highest bidder. There is also growing appreciation that sports rights are part of a bigger picture that includes fan participation and the other sources of sports monetisation for the leagues or ultimate rights owners.