Subscription OTT services’ spending on sports rights globally will reach $8.5bn in 2023, a 64% increase compared to last year. That’s according to a new report from Ampere Analysis’ Sports analyzing the role of sports in the streaming wars. The research also predicts that the share of spend on sports rights by streaming platforms will increase in 2023 to reach 21% of global sports rights investment, up from 13% in 2022. Ampere’s research uses the media analyst’s latest suite of data products: Sports – Media Rights, which tracks data on sports TV rights in the largest markets around the world, and Sports – Consumer, a regular series of consumer interviews covering sports fans in 12 countries around the world.
Subscription OTT services’ spend on sports rights has lagged compared to investment in original TV and film. In 2022, 28% of original content spending was from streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, and Apple TV+. However, as streaming technology has improved, and as fans increasingly expect to be able to stream their favorite sports, the sports streaming model finally took off. At the same time, the challenging economic outlook for traditional sports broadcasters, such as pay TV channels, ad-funded commercial channels, and public service broadcasters, incentivizes rights owners to appeal to streaming platforms in order to achieve media rights growth.
Leading the way for streaming platforms’ growing investment in sports rights, particularly in Europe, is DAZN. The global OTT sports streaming service accounted for more than half (54%) of all subscription OTT services’ spending on sports rights in 2022. However, recent years have seen increased sports rights spent by general entertainment services, such as Peacock and Viaplay, as service providers look to differentiate from peers in an increasingly crowded market. General entertainment services accounted for six of the top 10 subscriptions OTT services by global spending on sports rights in 2022.
The exclusive NFL deal with Amazon that kicked off in September 2022 was arguably the turning point for sports on general entertainment OTT platforms. It represented the largest single deal signed to date by any sports streaming service and has since been surpassed only by YouTube – also with the NFL. “The transition to streaming will take longer for sports than for other genres. This is partly because of the nature of sports rights deals, which typically span multiple years. It is also due to the sheer value of sports rights and the sensitivities characterizing the distribution and consumption of sports. The need for high-quality, low-latency feeds will continue to favor risk-averse behavior among broadcasters and rights owners alike. However, streaming will offer opportunities for sports to experiment with content, distribution, and monetization, which will revolutionize the way in which sports rights are sold and bought in the future," Jack Genovese, Research Manager at Ampere Analysis, said.