Sport content: TV vs. OTT

Sport content: TV vs. OTT

New business models for sport content delivery

While the latest negotiations for the TV rights to major sports resulted in record prices, and the Euro 2016 football and summer Olympic Games have delivered very strong ratings, this report takes a look at sport content on television, and the Internet's growing weight in providing exposure for sports.

It explores the role that sport plays on television, and the role that television plays in financing sport leagues, as well as the opportunities being opened up by OTT. It takes a look at recent upheavals in the sector, the increased competition created by new sport channels, and the involvement of new players from the telecom and Internet universes.

The report details the strategies that leagues are adopting with respect to the distribution of their content, via broadcasting and OTT, and by Internet companies and telcos. It also examines how broadcasters are reacting to these new real and potential threats.

Lastly, it explores the technical and economic challenges that those providing live premium sport content are having to grapple with, and pinpoints several ways in which broadcasting and OTT can be used to complement one another, and the avenues open to the different types of stakeholder.

1. Executive Summary
1.1. Sport and television: a well-entrenched, mutually beneficial relationship
1.2. The advent of OTT: opportunity for leagues and clubs, threat to channels?
1.3. A necessary complementarity between broadcasting and OTT
2. Methodology
3. Distribution of sports rights: state of the art
3.1. How the sale of sports rights is organised
3.1.1. Sport rights owners
3.1.2. The sports rights market
3.2. Sport: live TV's last bastion?
3.3. Television's weight in the economics of major sports
3.3.1. Sizeable disparities in TV's contribution to professional sport's revenue, depending on the discipline and the country
3.3.2. Rising price of sports rights
3.3.3. High inflation of rights due to an expanding media landscape
3.4. How important is sport to television?
3.4.1. Sport as audience builder
3.4.2. Sport as a magnet for ad revenue
3.4.3. Sport channels' weight in pay-TV packages
3.4.4. Sports' weight in channels' spending on programming
4. Sport content: the new goldmine
4.1. Sport leagues: growing prominence of OTT alongside TV broadcasting which is more lucrative than ever
4.1.1. Swift rise in the price of TV rights
4.2. American leagues: the most advanced in OTT distribution
4.2.1. Other sport leagues
4.2.2. Distribution on specialised third-party platforms
4.3. OTT services in search of exclusive premium content on a global scale
4.3.1. Internet giants' attempt to gain a foothold in distributing sport content
4.3.2. The threat of live video streaming apps
4.4. Sport used by telcos as an incentive to subscribe
4.4.1. BT: a latecomer with an ambitious strategy
4.4.2. Proximus: a record investment, concentrated largely on football
4.4.3. Telefónica: an active pre-IPTV television policy that includes sport
4.4.4. Altice/SFR: working to become the number one content provider in France
4.4.5. Deutsche Telekom and Orange: two pioneers in the realm of sport that have scaled back their ambitions
4.5. How are TV channels reacting?
4.5.1. Premium channels: upping their bids to keep up with the competition
4.5.2. Veteran general-interest channels: focusing on a few flagship events
4.5.3. New FTA and low-cost pay-TV channels: using sport to make a name for themselves
5. Broadcast vs. OTT: what are the options?
5.1. How the Internet can help increase exposure
5.1.1. Complementarity between OTT and live broadcasting
5.1.2. Social media sites to expand the reach of the leagues, the clubs and the athletes
5.1.3. Is there a danger of cannibalisation?
5.2. Sizeable technical challenges for broadcasting sporting events
5.2.1. Increasingly high quality content...
5.2.2. ... coming up against technical constraints on the networks
5.2.3. Economic constraints
5.3. Complementary networks and new strategies to devise
5.3.1. Network properties that complete and reinforce one another
5.3.2. Carving out a niche in a heavily populated ecosystem
List of Tables and Charts
Figure 1: Comparison of how major sporting leagues exploit their broadcasting rights, directly and through intermediaries
Figure 2: Change in the breakdown of revenue generated by professional sport in the United States between 2010 and 2019
Figure 3: Breakdown of the revenue earned by the main national football leagues in Europe for the 2013-2014 season
Figure 4: Evolution of the price paid for the rights to Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 football in France since 1984
Figure 5: Evolution of the price paid for Premier League TV rights in the UK since 1992
Figure 6: Evolution of the price paid for Bundesliga TV rights in Germany since 1970
Figure 7: Evolution of the number of hours of sport programmes on terrestrial TV in France
Figure 8: Evolution of new DTT channels' share of sport broadcasts in France
Figure 9: Evolution of the most commonly broadcast sports on French TV between 2010 and 2015
Figure 10: Average cost of a channel in a pay-TV package in 2014, by type of channel
Figure 11: Amount the main sport channels pay the leagues for sports rights per year
Figure 12: Percentage of their budget that the top broadcasters in the UK spent on sport in 2014
Figure 13: Change in the top British broadcasters' spending on programming between 2010 and 2014
Figure 14: Domestic cost of the main TV sports rights, and their increase over time
Figure 15: Current amount paid annually for the TV rights to football (national premiere league) in the main European countries, and increase compared to previous contracts
Figure 16: Amount paid for the TV rights to the main team sports in France, and increase compared to previous contracts
Figure 17: The four most popular OTT sport services in the United States
Figure 18: Breakdown of revenue earned by the top European football leagues (2013-2014 season)
Figure 19: Sports channels available on
Figure 20: NBC Sports on Yahoo!
Figure 21: The Facebook Sports Stadium interface
Figure 22: Amount Facebook has paid companies and personalities for Live Video content
Figure 23: The Proximus 11 app
Figure 24: Growth of Telefónica pay-TV subscribers
Figure 25: Growth of subscribers to Numericable-SFR fixed access products (ADSL, FTTB and FTTH) in France
Figure 26: The multi-court feature for the French Open 2015 on
Figure 27: The multicam option for the 2015 Tour de France on
Figure 28: Top 10 sport clubs in the world in terms of popularity (measured in million Facebook fans)
Figure 29: Event and club hashtags and emoticons
Figure 30: Sample tweet with emoticon
Figure 31: Twitter page dedicated to Wimbledon
Figure 32: Cristiano Ronaldo on social media
Figure 33: A French broadcaster's live Twitter feed of the Germany-Italy Euro 2016 quarter final, including video
Figure 34: Example of a Facebook page used as an indexing site, with links to streaming site
Figure 35: Screenshot of a live Periscope from an audience member
Figure 36: Announcement of the 2020 Olympic Games broadcast in 8K
Figure 37: xDSL performances
Figure 38: How a unicasting system works
Figure 39: How a CDN works
Figure 40: Comparison of how major sporting leagues exploit their broadcasting rights, directly and through intermediaries
Table 1: Top 10 most watched sport events in the United States in 2015, by annual viewership for each sport
Table 2: Highest rated sport events on French TV between 2004 and 2015
Table 3: Highest ratings for French TV channels airing sporting events since 2000 (highest rating for each channel)
Table 4: Highest ratings on German television
Table 5: National TV ad spending generated by the top American sports leagues, outside the regulation season
Table 6: Comparison of the average price of a 30-second TV spot during major sporting events in the United States
Table 7: Sport channels' estimated subscription revenue in the United States in 2016
Table 8: Amount TV networks pay the leagues for broadcasting rights, and contract expiry dates in the United States
Table 9: The NFL's OTT-only service for American fans
Table 10: The NFL's OTT services tied to TV channels
Table 11: NFL OTT services distributed exclusively by DirecTV
Table 12: The NFL's international OTT service
Table 13: NBA OTT plans in the United States
Table 14: NBA international OTT plans
Table 15: MLB OTT services
Table 16: MLB audio and mobile services
Table 17: NHL OTT services
Table 18: The MLS OTT service
Table 19: PGA Tour OTT service
Table 20: UFC OTT services
Table 21: ATP OTT service
Table 22: The Euroleague Basketball OTT service
Table 23: Football rights held by BT Sports
Table 24: Sports rights held by SFR Media for its SFR Sports channels
Table 25: Content available on ESPN Player in Europe
Table 26: Football rights held by Sky in the UK and in Ireland
Table 27: Rights shared between Sky and BT for other sports
Table 28: Main features of the Sky Sports OTT offering
Table 29: Sport broadcasting rights lost and held by Canal+
Table 30: Main features of MyCANAL
Table 31: Audience figures for sporting events on French DTT channels
Table 32: Comparison of the features of the main social media video streaming apps
Table 33: Current national status compared to DAE objectives, June 2015
Table 34: Public policies for superfast broadband in Europe
Table 35: Comparison of how top media companies are positioned in sport content

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