15 JUL 2022

Pay TV and premium channels grow their share of listed events in the UK

Free-to-air broadcasters’ share of spend on Listed Events rights in the UK is declining: in 2012, they accounted for 75% of Listed Event spend; by 2021 this dropped to below 65%, Ampere Analysis revealed in its latest report.

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Under UK law, Listed Events are sporting events deemed of national interest by the Secretary of State of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The current list includes events such as the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, and the Wimbledon Championships. The objective of the regime is to facilitate the free-to-air (FTA) coverage of major sporting events. As a result of this, FTA broadcasters have traditionally accounted for the majority of spend on Listed Events rights. However, their share of spend is declining: in 2012, they accounted for 75% of Listed Event spend; by 2021 this dropped to below 65%, Ampere Analysis revealed in its latest report.

Over the past few years, the UK has also witnessed an increase in the number of Listed Events where live rights are shared between multiple broadcasters. In 2012, the only Listed Event to be shared across two broadcasters was the UEFA European Championship, but subsequently this phenomenon has become much more prominent. In 2021, five Listed Events saw their live coverage in the UK shared between multiple broadcasters, with the most notable case being the Olympic Games, shown on the BBC and on Eurosport.

“This trend is consistent with the growing competition in the sports rights market which, combined with pressure on the finances of commercial and public broadcasters has meant that innovative partnerships are needed to drive revenue. The solution in this case has been ‘co-exclusivity’, which meets the requirements of the regulatory framework, but also helps with rights owners’ financial imperative to grow broadcasting revenues,”  said Jack Genovese, Research Manager at Ampere Analysis.

“Thus far, the impact of rapidly changing media on the UK sports rights market has been relatively contained. However, while multinational rights deals are still relatively uncommon for mainstream sports in the UK, should they increase in frequency, there is potential for less transparent and accessible rights bidding processes in the future. This could in turn limit the ability of national broadcasters to bid competitively for those rights, including Listed Events,”  Genovese added.

This data is taken from Ampere’s new report for UK media regulator Ofcom, looking at the changing market dynamics in the sports industry ahead of a review of the Listed Events regime. The report draws on our brand new suite of Sports products, encompassing Ampere’s proprietary quantitative research of sports fans and Ampere’s proprietary sports TV rights valuation data to provide an overview of these shifts and market dynamics.