Tue. May 21st, 2024

Business of sports broadcasting- Navigating international rights and partnerships

The lucrative rights deals between sports leagues and broadcasters are at the heart of the sports broadcasting business. Broadcasters pay enormous sums for the exclusive right to air live sports in a given market or region. For example, the English Premier League’s current domestic TV rights deal is worth over £5 billion.   The value of sports broadcasting rights has skyrocketed in recent years due to surging viewer demand and the entry of deep-pocketed tech giants into the market. Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and other tech companies see live sports as crucial for attracting and retaining subscribers to their streaming platforms.

Challenges of international expansion 

  • Fragmented rights landscape-Broadcasting rights are typically sold country-by-country rather than globally. This means broadcasters must negotiate separate deals in each market they want to enter. Rights in some countries may already be tied up in long-term deals.
  • Cultural differences-Popular sports in one country may be niche in another. Broadcasters must understand the sporting culture and tailor their coverage to local tastes. What works in the US market may not resonate in Japan.
  • Infrastructure and distribution-Setting up the technical infrastructure for broadcasting in a new country is complex and costly. Broadcasters must arrange satellite feeds, build local production facilities, and secure cable, satellite, and streaming platform distribution. In less developed markets, infrastructure limitations pose additional hurdles.

Strategies for international growth

Partnerships with local broadcasters- Teaming up with an established broadcaster in the target market provides immediate distribution and local market expertise. The partner handles local production, while the rights owner provides the international feed. Sports broadcasters like ESPN, beIN Sports and Fox Sports have built global footprints through regional partnerships.

Direct-to-consumer streaming – Launching a direct-to-consumer sports streaming service allows rightsholders to reach fans directly. WWE has successfully deployed this model with its WWE Network service, available in over 180 countries. Going direct-to-consumer means handling local billing, customer support, and marketing without a local partner click here now https://rztv77.com.

Sublicensing and clips rights- For smaller markets where it’s not viable to launch an entire channel, rightsholders can monetize through sublicensing deals where the live rights are sold to a local broadcaster, and the rightsholder retains highlights/clips rights for their platforms. Sublicensing lowers risk but also limits the upside.

Role of Sports Agencies

Sports agencies like IMG, Infront and Lagardère Sports play an essential role in the international sports rights market. These agencies act as intermediaries, helping leagues and federations optimize the value of their rights by selling them to broadcaster’s market-by-market.

The agency aggregates rights from many sports properties to offer broadcasters a content portfolio. They also handle complex rights management tasks, content delivery and piracy combat. For more minor leagues and niche sports, partnering with an agency is often the most effective path to monetizing their rights internationally.

Trends shaping the market

Shift to streaming – Streaming platforms aggressively bid for premium sports rights to attract subscribers. Amazon has Thursday Night Football, Premier League football and ATP tennis deals. DAZN has become a significant player with rights to top football, basketball and combat sports. Internet giants are entering the fray – Tech companies see live sports as a critical part of their video strategies. Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have all bid for sports rights. Expect them to be increasingly active as digital rights packages are carved out. For broadcasters and leagues, success will hinge on their ability to navigate the complex rights landscape, adapt to new technologies and build deep connections with fans in each market they enter.

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