Ministry of Sport

Digital Sports Rights Projected To Grow 9.7% Over Next Five Years, According To New Study

In the fourth edition of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Sports Survey, views of 580 industry leaders coming from 49 countries on growth expectations and a wide range of strategic and organisational topics have revealed that digital media rights will be the key driver for the growth of the sports industry over the next five years.

The paper has revealed that sports industry leaders expect the sector’s growth to continue at a healthy annual rate of 6.4% in the next 3-5 years, albeit below the 7.4% seen in the past 3-5 years.

And, although the digital sector is expected to achieve growth of up to 9.7 per cent, traditional media streams will experience ‘much lower growth rates’ during the same period, which are estimated to be at no more than 4.1 per cent.

Whilst the PwC paper is enthusiastic on the unrealised potential of digital, it does cast doubts as to whether sports organisations can benefit from online growth, with concerns that the major technology firms will instead be the ones to reap the benefits as both gatekeepers and producers of content.

Interestingly, compared to last year, in this years’ edition respondents foresee for the next 3-5 years slightly lower growth rates overall and across revenue streams, which is a sign of concern and uncertainty around the business impact of changing consumption behaviour of younger generations.

Whilst over-the-top (OTT) platforms look set to play a role in the growth of digital rights, the PwC study suggests the ‘hype’ of a ‘commercial silver bullet’ for rights holders provided by direct-to-consumers offerings (DTC) is over.

This is due to doubts over quality and long-term interest, as cited by the majority of those surveyed, who also rated the current OTT space as being below expectations or disappointing.

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney