IABM releases Live Sports sector report

The IABM has released a new Sector Trends Report on live sports. Analysed from a mix of quantitative data and qualitative input including extensive interviews and research, the live sports report examines drivers of change and provides both tech suppliers and media companies with the actionable insights they need to better address future challenges and opportunities in the Live Sports sector.

The live sports report dissects sports viewing habits, the sports rights landscape, monetisation models, the growth of esports, COVID-19 impact on investment, cloud and virtualisation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics and imaging and immersive.

The report shows that the coronavirus pandemic hit the sector hard early on, with the advertising and subscription revenues much of the sector relies on heavily impacted; for example, Sky reported a 15% drop in June 2020 and NBC alone lost $1.25 billion of ad revenues due to the postponement of the Tokyo Games.

Sports broadcasters had to swiftly adapt, creatively filling the holes in their programming schedules caused by the cancellations with rerun and reworked archive content, new content formats or immersive events. Even though sports viewership declined due to the impact of the pandemic, sports audiences remain a large share of overall live broadcasting consumption.

The pandemic accelerated long standing drivers of innovation and disruption in the sports industry; innovations such as remote production, cloud-based infrastructure, data analytics and immersive experiences were all propelled forward by the constraints posed by the pandemic. However, drivers of disruption including changing viewing habits, the changing sports rights landscape, and the growth of esports were all accelerated.

Headline findings are:

  • Dramatic drop in ad revenues due to event cancellation drives creative adaptation
  • 32% of sports media companies are planning to increase investment in media technology
  • 59% of live sports technology media companies plan to grow their investment in consume, which includes consumer interface systems, while the level of investment in other areas of the content supply chain will however remain flat or even decrease
  • Monetisation models in the sports industry may become more “fluid” than ever before with a higher reliance on interactive consumer experiences as well as e-commerce features
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has impaired investment in imaging, particularly when it comes to distribution. Immersive in sports is instead a strategic area of investment
  • Sports rights data suggests that the impact of the pandemic has been uneven in different geographies. While European rights have experienced a decline in recent deals, data from North America shows the resilience of sports rights’ prices
  • From a content supply chain perspective, IABM data shows that sports production technology buyers are also focused on real time production graphics

“Our Business Intelligence Unit continues to expand the range of sectors and segments on which it reports so as to provide IABM members with even more actionable insights to underpin their business planning,” said Peter White, CEO at IABM.

“Moreover these reports are increasingly being tapped by broadcast and media company strategists to inform their decision-making – we are delighted by this trend as it fits well with IABM’s ongoing drive towards true collaboration across the whole content chain that will help ensure our great industry’s ongoing success. This new live sports sector report will, I am certain, be eagerly received by everyone involved in this dynamic and rapidly evolving sector.”

To read the full report, please visit: https://theiabm.org/sector-trends-live-sports/


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