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The Sports Rights Bubble Reaching The Tipping Point

Report by Tim Mulligan
Cover image for The Sports Rights Bubble
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The 20,000 Foot View: The broadcasting of live sport has been a key part of TV’s appeal and underpins the pay-TV ecosystem. However, a combination of entrenched cord-cutting and an ageing audience means that revenues are now moving out of synch with inflating domestic sports rights costs. In 2016, return on investment (ROI) for the top ten largest TV sports broadcasters declined by            on 2014 as the newly increased domestic sports rights costs kicked in. Sports rights investment by US, UK and Canadian domestic broadcasters is now moving from Euphoria into Profit Taking (as per the five stages of an economic bubble) as the smart money start to plan for exit from their pay-TV dependency.

Key Findings

  • Rights revenue            the US, UK and Canadian            sport rights franchises was up            2014 and 2016 
  • The            largest            UK and Canada sports broadcasters                       billion on sports rights in           
  • ROI for            sports rights in the US,            and Canada peaked in 2015            a            return
  • ROI on            sports rights declined by            between            and 2016 in the US,            and Canada
  • New entrants            and Facebook will initially push            costs up further but they            subsequently exercise market power to            costs later
               of sports TV viewers in the US, UK, Canada and Australia are aged            plus
  • Only            of                       in the US, UK, Canada            Australia regularly watch sports on           
  • Cord-cutting penetration            US, UK, Canada and Australia                       in            2017

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:            Century Fox, ABC, Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, BT, CBS, Facebook, Fox Sports, NBA, NBCUniversal, NFC, NFL, The Walt Disney Company, Rogers Communications, Sky Plc, Turner Entertainment Networks, Twitch, Twitter