Sports Rights Survey 2021
Liam Costello Senior Manager
Will Pay TV bounce back and remain a strong and critical holder of distribution rights as live sports returns to the living room? Or will sports TV follow the same trajectory as general entertainment services and transition to OTT?
We asked our global network of industry contacts for their thoughts on a number of emerging topics in the Sports TV landscape. Respondents included content owners, Pay TV platforms, rights holders and tech vendors.
The results from our 2021 Sports Rights Survey addresses the future of the sports distribution ecosystem and covers key topics including:
- The integration of sports D2C with Pay TV
- The future valuation of TV rights
- Anti-piracy measures
- Premium sports documentaries and AVOD
Sports Rights Inflation
Pay TV has historically been the leading buyer of sports rights but is facing growing uncertainties through increased competition in the entertainment genre, declining ad revenues and pressures on sub numbers and pricing levels. Respondents strongly believe there will be reduced competition from broadcasters for rights and that prices have peaked.
Pay TV services are increasingly under pressure to innovate. The global pandemic has favoured OTT streaming services whose lower priced non-commitment proposition has put pressure on full-fat Pay TV packages, forcing Pay TV to lower its pricing of entertainment services.
Less than half of all executives (43%) believe Pay TV can sustain its premium pricing for sports.
75% feel that Pay TV operators will reduce their own spend on sporting rights and instead will integrate more third-party services into their ecosystem.
Piracy is a major concern for sports. From the Qatar/Saudi Arabia dispute over the pirate beoutQ channel, to the sharing of streams on social media and torrent websites. The lack of content security has yet to be resolved.
Currently, sporting bodies are not aggressive enough with preventative measures for piracy. 79% of executives believe they are too ‘reactionary’ and should do more.
78% believe that rights holders will increase their focus on anti-piracy as they themselves launch D2C services.