Vast majority of fans willing to pay regularly for sports | Media Analysis | Business
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Ampere 21Nov2017In a study of 28,000 Internet users across 14 markets, Ampere Analysis has found a strong willingness to pay for sports content, and of those 42% that enjoy watching sport, the vast majority would be willing to pay regularly to watch at least one of their favourite events.

Yet despite interests ranging from soccer to the Olympics, tennis to motor racing, basketball, athletics and cycling, Ampere felt compelled to ask whether broadcasters and channels were missing out on opportunities to further monetise sport.

The survey showed that across the 14 countries, football was the game most consumers say they like to watch at 28%, followed by the Olympics, tennis, athletics and basketball and motor racing. The specific sports leagues and competitions fans are most willing to pay for follows the same ranking, with UEFA Champions League (UEFA CL) coming top. However, enjoying a sport and paying to watch it are not the same.

Ampere’s analysis revealed that older consumers were more willing to pay for domestic competitions, with younger consumers showing greater propensity to pay for niche leagues. For example, in the US, older consumers aged 35 and over were found to be more likely to pay for the National Football League (NFL) at 18% vs. 13% for younger consumers. However, at 10%, younger consumers (aged under 35) are more likely to pay to watch the National Basketball Association league (NBA) than those aged over 35 (6%). It’s the same picture for UEFA Champions League (6% vs. 1%) and the English Premier League EPL (5% vs. 2%).

Interestingly, the survey showed the pulling power of the major sports leagues as domestic competitions did not always come top in the local market. In Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Saudi Arabia however, the major international leagues – particularly the English Premier League – perform well.

Commenting on the findings, Ampere Analysis research analyst Alexios Dimitropoulos said: “Sports rights is a fascinating area because of the wide variety of consumer behaviour by country. Our research suggests that the majority of sports fans are willing to pay to enjoy their favourite games and leagues on TV. However, we see different levels of willingness to pay for domestic and international competitions, and mass and niche sports by market. There are also some global flagship events, particularly those that have always been free to watch like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, where there is currently more reluctance to pay. Broadcasters will need to proceed with caution on events that are currently free as they look for more ways to monetise sport on a pay-TV basis.”