New Delhi: The market value of sports media rights is set to reach $5 billion in Asia Pacific (excluding-China) this year, according to Asia Pacific Sports In The Age Of Streaming, a new report published by research and information firm Media Partners Asia (MPA). This is a 22% jump from 2017, caused by the rising demand for digital rights, market growth in India and Australia as well as this year’s Fifa World Cup. While pay-TV operators combat subscriber churn with the help of sports, the over-the-top video streaming services are driving inflation of sports telecast rights, opening up bigger opportunities for rights-holders and making negotiations and deals more complex.
“In our view, the value of sports media rights across TV has probably peaked in Asia Pacific with the notable exception of India, where the market for linear channels remains robust and scalable," said Srivathsan A.R., senior analyst at MPA and the author of the report. “The proliferation of broadband is fuelling the growth of online video platforms, with a number of players investing aggressively in sports rights."
Recent sports rights auctions suggest that online platforms currently contribute between 10-25% of the media rights value for a sports franchise, said the MPA report which surveyed the sports ecosystem in Asia Pacific with a focus on digital video, including estimates on revenue and market-level reach for key properties.
In the Asia Pacific, the market for digital sports is broadly divided between the broadcasters who have scalable distribution and are also investing in digital rights for new and emerging platforms, and the telcos and pure-play digital platforms that are monetizing tent pole rights through subscription, advertising and commerce. In India, the first group includes Star India, which has established new benchmarks for digital-based sports consumption with Hotstar, its direct-to-consumer entertainment and sports platform that reached more than 200 million people during this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, the report said.
Pure-play digital platforms have also become active, driving the growth in value of sports media rights. A notable example in Asia includes sports streaming specialist Dazn, which is close to break-even in Japan after launching in August 2016. Even Facebook is in the running to acquire exclusive English Premier League (EPL) football rights in Thailand and Vietnam even though it failed to bag the IPL cricket rights in India in 2017.
Australian telco Optus, meanwhile, has invested close to US$300 million for two cycles of EPL football in Australia to drive customer acquisition and market share across its broadband services. Globally, Amazon has secured ATP tennis and a tranche of EPL football in the UK. “We expect bidding for live rights to escalate across the region over the next two years as sports-based digital platforms drive viewership, especially in large ad-dominated growth economies such as India and Indonesia as well as big mature markets such as Australia and Japan," Srivathsan said.