Total annual sports media rights spend in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Australia rose by 68%, from $20.8 billion to $34.9 billion, between 2014 and 2022, according to an Ampere Analysis report.
That increase has been driven in large part by sports organizations’ exploitation of streaming services’ growing focus on live sports coverage — for example, last week’s launch of live sports on the Max service — as a means to boost engagement and subscriptions.
As rights owners have struck deals that raise their revenue by parceling out rights among streamers and traditional broadcasters, the number of distributors with U.S. rights to the top 10 sports franchises grew from nine to 12 between 2014 and 2022, from six to eight in France, from three to seven in Germany, and from four to five in the U.K.
Overall, the number of rights holders has increased by nine across the markets. On average, there were 5.7 rights holders per market in 2014, versus 7 in 2022. Only Spain and Australia have bucked the trend.
Using Germany as an example, the report notes that while Sky Deutschland has maintained its position as the market leader, its share of rights spend across the top 10 competitions fell from 62% in 2014 to 40% in 2022, while streaming service DAZN’s share more than trebled, from 7% in 2018 to 26% in 2022.
The mounting costs of securing distribution rights are, in turn, resulting in “sizeable financials barriers to access” for core sports audiences, notes Ampere.