Association football will increase its already dominant share of that pie from 25.1% ($12.8 billion) in 2018 to 37.4% ($31.9 billion), primarily through increased viewership of Europe’s top leagues in other regions, especially Asia Pacific, including China, and North America. Other sports will also benefit from the fan base expansion generated by globalization and greater streaming distribution, notably basketball.
These are among the primary conclusions of the latest report from Rethink TV, the specialist video forecasting arm of Rethink Technology Research, called Globalization lifts TV sports rights past $85 billion future. Sports Rights Forecast to 2025. A strong subtext of the report is that direct to consumer services are creeping up on the sports rights industry, stealthily with deadly intent for broadcasters. Even technology giants such as Amazon are now disrupting the traditional field of sporting rights will themselves have to adapt to the growing reality of D2C if they are to have a future as major players in sports video distribution.
Television itself brought the first wave of disruption for sports over 50 years ago, followed around 25 years ago by subscription pay TV, bringing unparalleled riches and huge growth in exposure beyond traditional fan bases. The maturation of streaming is now bringing another major gear shift, both by intensifying competition for rights and changing the viewing experience, with greater levels of personalization and interactivity, as well as innovations in presentation with proliferation of ancillary content.
Availability of audience data linked to advanced analytics has created the potential for making changes in the sports themselves, considering fans behavior during viewing, as has occurred in the case of basketball in the USA.
Streaming has also stimulated piracy to the extent that content protection has become a factor in the rights auctions alongside quality of viewing experience, so that contracts no longer go automatically to the highest bidder. There is also growing appreciation that sports rights are part of a bigger picture that includes fan participation and the other sources of sports monetization for the leagues or ultimate rights owners. The partnership between Discovery and PGA Golf is an example of connecting premium rights with fan participation.
The report traces revenue changes from media rights for major sports and their leagues in the principal geographies of Europe, North America, China, Rest of Asia Pacific and Rest of World, drilling down into differences by region and sport. We pick out the top few sports and individual leagues in each region and track their progress over the next six years.