PwC: Live Streaming Changing Sports Broadcast Rights Game (MESA)

An Oct. 10 study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) noted that this year marks the first time ever that NFL fans can stream live games on social media platforms, and that’s going to be a game-changer for the sports broadcast industry for years to come. The report — “At the Gate and Beyond” — sees media rights for North American sports ballooning from $18.2 billion in fees paid to broadcast sports to $21.3 billion in 2020, a CAGR of 5.5%, the highest growth among any sports revenue category (ahead of sponsorship, merchandising and gate revenues).

“This content distribution deal was one of many high-profile sports league contracts with social media networks, a new media rights strategy to reach younger, digital-minded audiences,” the report reads. “This shift highlights the complexity of the professional and intercollegiate sports business in today’s environment and the dichotomy of spectator sports consumption in and outside the live venue.”

Overall, the North American sports market will grow from $63.9 billion in 2015 to $75.7 billion in 2020, and by 2018, media rights will be No. 1, passing gate revenues for the first time ever. Consumer and advertiser engagement during broadcasts is key, keeping media rights in demand for both traditional broadcasters and the new digital players, PwC noted.

“Broadcast rights are likely to remain an industry priority through the next deal cycle, but sports properties are focused on new digital and immersive products to reach new audiences, deepen engagement and displace any rights fee premium lost as pay TV evolves away from or within the bundle,” the report reads.

And sports properties and broadcasters continue to innovate, exploring better personalization for viewers, and even virtual reality. Fox Sports twice this year has broadcast NCAA college football games live in virtual reality.