Reports Media & Marketing

2019-2021 Emerging New Metrics for Sports Streaming Success

Report by Alistair Taylor
Cover image for 2019-2021
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The 20,000 Foot View:  The clock is ticking down to 2021 when the major domestic sports rights in the US and the UK will start coming up for renewal. Thus far, pureplay sports streaming video on demand (SVOD) services such as DAZN and Eleven Sports have experienced mixed fortunes. Meanwhile, Disney’s ESPN+ launch in 2018 marked the arrival of the first of the big guns in the sports streaming space. It remains to be seen which is optimally placed to capitalise on the 2021 opportunity,  with success ultimately depending upon a winning combination of tech stack, social reach and commercial clout to meet the only modestly reduced expectations of the leagues. The stakes have rarely been so high. The winner could cement its role as the go-to sports provider for the next decade.

Key Findings

  • Attention has become a scarce commodity, and without a compelling value proposition, sports streaming services will struggle to displace pay-TV
  • The top ten leagues have a combined social following of        million, however social reach is unevenly distributed and does not conform to league value
  • The National Football League (NFL), which earned        billion in 2017, only ranks sixth in terms of social media following, with nearly half the size of the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s following
  • The tech major’s focus on global reach matters puts leagues with global audiences (e.g. the English Premier League (EPL) and the NBA) at a distinct advantage over the NFL and Major League Baseball (MLB) 
  • The demands of the attention economy will consolidate streaming licensing to a few sports franchises, creating a superstar effect with niche sports pushed to the side
  • Streaming services are not yet competing for top tier domestic rights, instead preferring to snap up smaller packages to test the waters for live streaming
  • A blend of big budgets, tech stacks and social reach will determine the next allocation of major rights

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:   ABC,AFL, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon, Apple, AppleTV+, CBS, DAZN, DirecTV, Disney, Disney+, Eleven Sports, English Premier League, ESPN, ESPN+,        Facebook, Fox, Gallagher, Premiership Rugby, Houston Rockets, Hulu, IPL, KFC Big Bash, La Liga, MLB, NBA China, NBA, NBC, Netflix, NFL, NHL, NRL, Serie A, TBS, Tencent, TNT, UEFA Champions League, UFC, Verizon, Warner Media, WeChat, WWE 

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