Fragmentation in the sports media market: Opportunities and challenges for broadcasters and OTT players

As over-the-top (OTT) platforms continue to expand their presence in the sports media market, the landscape of live sports rights is becoming increasingly fragmented. This shift is driven in part by a surge in broadcasters offering live sports content across major markets including key European territories, aiming to capitalise on the potential for driving engagement and subscriptions, particularly among new entrants in the subscription OTT space.

According to a recent report by Ampere Analysis, with more bidders vying for rights, broadcasters find their ability to provide a comprehensive sport offering to fans is constrained. This fragmentation also presents opportunities for broadcasters – especially incumbents – to secure exclusive or co-exclusive rights to key properties while potentially reducing overall spending on sports rights.

“Streaming players are slowing down on investment as they face the challenge of reaching profitability”

However, the proliferation of fragmented sports coverage presents a challenge for sports fans who need multiple subscriptions to access their favourite sports and competitions.

In Europe, especially in markets such as the UK, France, and Italy, the number of pay TV and premium channels acquiring rights has surged, reflecting the evolution of the traditional TV market. Simultaneously, the rise of streaming has penetrated the sports broadcasting industry.

The Football Summit 2024

The subject of the fragmentation of rights and the impact on production will be explored at SVG Europe’s upcoming Football Summit.

After a presentation from Ampere Analysis research manager Daniel Monaghan on media rights trends in European football, Monaghan will be joined on stage by Lorin Parys, Belgian Pro League, chief executive, Robert Klein, IMG, managing director, Football, Media and Nick Moody, Sunset+Vine, executive producer/head of broadcast for a discussion on the evolution of media rights across Europe and the opportunities and challenges for those in production.

  • The Football Summit will take place on 29 February at The Egg, Brussels. To register, click here

The trend towards a more fragmented market is also influenced by changing fan preferences for consuming live sports. While rights buyers strive to maintain an attractive sport offering within budgetary constraints, traditional broadcasters face economic challenges amidst the ongoing shift towards streaming viewership.

As traditional TV revenues decline, some broadcasters have been forced to adjust their strategies, potentially leading to subscriber losses and pricing adjustments. Acquiring smaller rights packages may result in reduced uptake of sports packages and declining average revenue per user (ARPU) for some broadcasters in Europe

More To download the Ampere Analysis report Fragmentation in the Sports Media Market, click here

Despite losing exclusivity or full rights to sports properties, incumbent players still wield significant influence in sports markets, retaining a considerable share of rights spend in many countries. However, streaming services are poised to become more competitive as traditional TV players’ spending power diminishes.

Streaming platforms offer flexibility in content packaging and tiering, enabling tailored offerings that cater to diverse viewer interests. Additionally, they have the potential to capitalise on global rights deals more efficiently than traditional broadcasters, paving the way for more expansive partnerships and international expansion.

While streaming players face challenges in reaching profitability, they continue to invest in sports content, seeking to establish themselves as the primary destination for sports fans through innovative strategies and integration of ancillary services like betting and merchandising.

Across major sports markets, the broadcast rights to popular sports competitions are increasingly being split across a growing number of services, including streamers. The Ampere report looks at the driving forces behind the fragmentation of the sports media market, as well as its impact on various stakeholders across the industry.

Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters