For about five years, the sports media landscape has been partially disrupted by new OTT sports-specialised players, such as DAZN and Eleven Sports Network, in terms of price (significantly lower than usual TV packages), accessibility (platform-agnostic) and consumer experience (thanks to shared-viewing tools, or sports betting data integration).
But, if they can start as OTT-only services, finding distribution agreements with traditional pay-TV broadcasters remains crucial to them, to grow their subscriber base, and maximise their exposure and revenues streams, according to market analyst Dataxis.
Indeed, most fans still prefer watching sports on TV, where they can find more complete packages, and OTT players are still facing challenges such as latency, buffering or image resolution.
In Belgium, where Eleven has recently secured the rights to the domestic soccer league, its business has turned out to be profitable for the first time last year.
Distribution agreements have played a big role in this achievement. Indeed, Eleven’s sports coverage even launched directly as 2 channels on Proximus IPTV platform, before introducing its OTT service, and then finding agreements with the main local TV operators.