Sports Rights The Great Reset
The 20,000 Foot exposed live entertainment as a vulnerable asset class during a global health crisis, rendering services overly reliant on live sports broadcasts as primary churn candidates. A major overhaul in rights valuations by pay-TV and sports SVOD distributors is under way. Prioritising revenue over reach has become outdated for rights holders such as the English Premier League (EPL), with its primary distributors harbouring diminishing subscriber bases and reduced budgets. Understanding where audiences exist and consume content and targeting younger demographics are now strategic priorities for rights holders. A digital-centric road map, including esports, will help open up younger audiences, who are now primarily engaging with a post-broadcast live sports and entertainment world.
- Digital natives are more likely to consume non-live sports than older, traditional sports fans, with 20-24 year olds three times more likely to watch highlights than year olds
- Sports without fans is a weakened spectacle, highlighted by the nine percentage points decrease in watching live sports on TV from to 2020
- Live TV audiences are older: of those watching live sports on TV in 2020 are age with this demographic twice as likely to consume live sports on TV than year olds
- Social media sports audiences are younger: 20-24 year olds show the highest propensity to watch sports highlights on social media at natives are more likely to consume non-live sports formats, over-indexing for social media engagement and under-indexing for broadcast sports has expedited the sports rights bubble’s bursting point
- Without fans, technological innovation is required to return sports consumption to pre-COVID levels – prioritising a ‘made for TV’ product, in the words of the NHL
Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon, BT Sport, BT, Bundesliga, Comcast, Disney, Electronic Arts, EPL, Facebook, Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Instagram, Madden NFL, MediaPro, MLB, MLS, NBC, NBCUniversal, Netflix, NFL, NHL, NRL, Peacock, Sky Sports, Sky, Snapchat, Spotify, Tencent, TikTok, TNF, Twitch, Twitter, UEFA, UFC, Verizon, WeChat, WNBA, WWE ThunderDome, WWE, Yahoo, YouTube