Report: Sports Media Rights Growth Stabilizing

Technology will create bigger revenue for rights and premium experiences for viewers, PwC says
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Sports media rights growth is expected to stabilize over the next five years, according to a new report from PwC.

PwC sees sports media rights revenue growing 11.7% to $12.2 billion in 2016. But over the five-year period ending in 2020, media rights revenue will grow just 5.5% to $21.3 billion.

Despite the slower rate of growth, media rights will be the biggest part of sports revenues, exceeding gate revenues, sponsorship revenues and merchandizing.

“Consumer and advertiser engagement with game broadcasts and other sports media content is expected to remain strong,” the report says. "That will keep demand for sports rights among broadcasters strong. But those broadcasters will increasingly face competition from 'emerging distribution partners,' such as streaming and social media sites, and that will “elevate the competitive environment for rights deals.”

Revenue from new digital products will offset right fees as the pay-TV bundle loses subscribers.

Sports properties will also focus on emerging technologies, including personalized video, 3D video, virtual reality and augmented reality to create premium immersive experiences. “Such products will impact value pools across the sports market value chain,” the report says.

Overall the sports market—including gate revenue, media rights, sponsorship and merchandising—will grow 3.5% annually from $75.7 billion in 2020.

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