The organising bodies of major sports competitions are increasingly likely to adopt a direct-to-consumer approach, according to a recent report by TMT consultancy Analysis Mason.
Traditionally, rights have been sold on to broadcasters who have then handled distribution to the consumer. However, the report predicts that the current trend in the US for a combination of direct and indirect distribution will expand to other territories, cutting broadcasters out from part of the revenue creation.
“In the USA the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, National Football League and, more recently, Major League Baseball have launched their own TV channels,” said Lluis Borrell, partner, Analysis Mason. “In Europe, the Dutch football league also has its own TV channel and recently launched its own over-the-top TV services.”
The English Premier League (EPL) has launched its own TV channel that will initially be offered through partners in international markets.
“These developments, particularly in France and England, indicate that this direct-to-consumer trend will accelerate in 2010, with more sports rights owners being likely to complement indirect, third-party TV channels with their own channels. However, such a move is not without risks,” warned Borrell.
“The Internet favours a complex network of collaborative and competitive relationships. Managing these relationships is critical to ensuring audiovisual revenues continue to grow, avoiding the cannibalisation of current revenue streams and developing stronger negotiating positions in a turbulent market.”