Analyst: High willingness to pay for sport in Nordics

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Like most other media activities, sports have been under pressure in 2020 – not only due to covid-19, but also from a rights perspective reports Mediavision.

Luckily for Nordic sports fans, leagues and tournaments have been able to resume to play and announce winners of the spring seasons. Several major sports rights have been renegotiated and some will end up with new owners.

Sports is an exceptionally strong content genre, both in broadcast and streaming. Being one of the main pillars both for pay and free TV, sports have the power to attract large audiences and a loyal subscriber base. As Mediavision has previously reported, the past year has resulted in major shifts on the Nordic sports rights market – including the Champions League rights being acquired by Telia in Sweden and Finland while TV2 Norway secured the Norwegian rights, NENT securing pan-Nordic rights to both Formula 1 and the Premier League, and TV 2 DK scoring the Danish rights to Europa League.

Mediavision’s Nordic Sports Analysis 2020 concludes that both consumer interest and willingness to pay for sports is high in this region. Well above 4 million 15-74-year-olds in the Nordics have an explicit interest in watching sports online or via broadcast and the clear majority of those explicitly pay to do so.

In Denmark, football is uniquely strong and holds the top-3 positions: Champion League, Superligaen and Premier League gather the highest total interest of all compared leagues and tournaments. On the Norwegian market, Premier League is uniquely strong (in Nordic comparison), attracting more interest, a higher payrate and being preferred to a higher degree than any other league, including the Champions League and the World Cup in cross country skiing.

In Finland, the pay rate for sports is lower in general. This is probably good for the actors now pushing pay services. Simply, the market hasn’t reached the same maturity. Another difference between Finland and the other Nordic countries is the – since long – strong interest in ice hockey and Formula 1. The latter actually being the single league with the highest share of, and the most paying, viewers.

Also in Sweden, ice hockey, and especially the domestic league SHL, ranks high. Although retaining slightly less interest then the top domestic league in football, Allsvenskan, SHL have a higher payrate, and generates a larger subscriber base. Football gets the top two positions thanks to Premier League and Champions League. And maybe not a surprise, the overlap in interest between the two is significant. CL will move from NENT to Telia in autumn 2021, perhaps affecting the total pay rate for these two leagues.


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