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Cricket continues to dominate the Indian market, representing 87% of the value of sports media rights. (Photo:HT) (HT)
Cricket continues to dominate the Indian market, representing 87% of the value of sports media rights. (Photo:HT) (HT)

Sports rights in India expected to touch $1.3 bn by 2024

  • Across 11 Asia-Pacific markets, sports rights grew 2.4% in 2019 to touch $5.5 billion
  • Sports revenue from TV and online video streaming increased 7.8% to reach $5.2 billion

NEW DELHI: Sports broadcasting rights in India will likely grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% to touch $1.3 billion by 2024 as key marquee properties continue to increase, said a report from Media Partners Asia, an independent researcher, advisory and consultancy.

Sports media rights market was worth $1.1 billion in 2019.

Across 11 Asia-Pacific markets, sports rights grew 2.4% in 2019 to touch $5.5 billion, while sports revenue from TV and online video streaming increased 7.8% to reach $5.2 billion.

Despite a surge in interest in other sporting events, cricket continues to dominate the Indian market, representing 87% of the value of sports media rights. The report said television remains the core driver of this growth. However, the implementation of the new pay TV tariff order by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India could limit the value and growth of non-cricket sports.

With increasing internet and smartphone penetration in India, digital videos accounted for 20% share of the sports rights pie in 2019, and is expected to grow to 40% by 2024. Sports monetization on television as well as digital will be robust, driven by a number of factors, including the addition of more than 16 million new pay TV homes and 250 million broadband subscribers over 2019-2024.

Improved sports content delivery and innovation will further drive the growth of digital. Incumbents across broadcast, online video and telecom sectors will continue to place a premium on marquee sports rights.

A young demographic with better propensity to pay is driving sports consumption. This is in addition to the increase in grassroots investments and improvement of on-ground infrastructure, along with growth in broadband penetration and speeds in India.

Across 11 Asia-Pacific markets, video streaming growth has been strong with over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platforms accounting for 21% of sports media revenue generation in 2019. This is likely to double over the next five years to reach 40% by 2024. Excluding China, OTT will account for 23% of sports media monetization in 2024 across the measured markets, up from 12% in 2019.

The key challenges for the sports industry remain low monetization from domestic non-cricket leagues; and the perception that limited opportunities exist to pursue a career in sports, outside cricket.

According to Vivek Couto, executive director of Media Partners Asia, investment in premium sports rights has often proved scalable and sustainable, when driven by large-scale internet players with pole position in a vast digital ecosystem, which helps subsidize investment in premium content (Tencent in China), or integrated pure-play entertainment and sports OTTs with advertising and subscription-based business models (Hotstar in India).

"Pay TV operators investing to retain high average revenue per user (Arpu) customers and grow a new OTT segment, anchored to product innovation with premium sports at the forefront and regional TV broadcasters that have a combination of mass reach and premium segmentation with branded sports networks (Star and Sony in India)," Couto added.

"The numbers are a vindication of the fact that the Indian sports growth story is sustainable and with immense potential," said independent sports consultant Indranil Das Blah. “With the emergence of other sports and leagues like kabaddi, football and development of sports talent in major Olympic disciplines, the appetite to consume sports will only grow in the country."

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