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The Sports Rights Bubble Reaching The Tipping Point

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

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