Sports and the Tech Majors | A Competitive Partnership

The 20,000 Foot View: The big gap in streaming video’s content mix has historically been sports. This is now changing through a combination of disruptive challenger sports subscription video on demand (SVOD) services such as DAZN accelerating its rights and territory offerings alongside the increased interest being shown by the tech majors – notably Amazon and Facebook – in streaming premium sports offerings. Accelerating this process has been the market testing of ESPN+, the first significant sports SVOD service to be launched by a heavily invested traditional pay-TV stalwart, Disney. With the future of sports fans overwhelmingly digital in their consumption, and with traditional pay-TV being squeezed financially by subscriber decline, sports viewing is being rebooted for a post-pay-TV world where the tech majors are optimally placed to succeed.

Key Findings

  • Between Q1 and Q4 2018 the weighted weekly average usage (WAU) of Facebook in core English-speaking markets declined by 5%
  • Although Asia-Pacific accounts for 38% of Facebook’s daily active users (DAU), only 17% of advertising revenue comes from the region
  • Facebook’s video engagement has failed to generate the uptake necessary to take consumer attention away from  streaming heavyweights
  • Amazon displays the key three assets to meet the needs of rightsholders: capital, tech and reach
  • Amazon subscribers over index for sports consumption: 53% like watching live sports on TV and 38% have watched shows or movies about sports in the last three months
  • With Netflix vehemently against entering the live sports rights market, Amazon is well placed to establish its video solution as the go-to sports destination
  • 34% of 20–24 year olds watch games-related videos on a monthly basis
  • Only 23% of 20–24 year olds watch traditional sports for free on streaming services
  • The more e-sports become ‘sports’, the more that big tech companies can dilute the value of the traditional TV sports propositions.
  • Amazon as the owner of Twitch is in the enviable position of potentially becoming the ESPN of next-generation sports coverage
  • As the tech major with the biggest cash reserves (currently at $237.1 billion as of Q3 2018), Apple could purchase DAZN and arm it to win big in the rights frenzy of 2021
  • The flatline of Disney’s media networks revenue growth reflects the secular decline of pay-TV subscriptions across the English-speaking markets
  • Serving more use cases than the current global leading SVOD service will promote Disney+’s position as a true substitutive service

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Apple TV+, BeIN Sports, DAZN, Disney,  Disney+, English Premier League (EPL), ESPN, ESPN+, Facebook, Fox Sports Asia, Hulu, Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), NBA 2K, Netflix, National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Take Two Interactive, Twitch