Sports media rights surge to reach $5BN in APAC | Broadcast | News | Rapid TV News
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Sports media rights in the Asia Pacific, excluding China, are set to hit US$5 billion this year, according to Media Partners Asia (MPA).
IPL 25May2018
The total represents a 22% rise on 2017 spending, driven by the FIFA World Cup, rising demand for digital rights and market growth in India and Australia, the market analysis company said. Over-the-top (OTT) delivery is the prime cause of rights inflation, providing new opportunities for delivering sports coverage.

“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 AR, senior analyst, MPA, the report’s main author. “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, MPA estimates.

‘The value of bundled broadcast and online rights today is typically anchored to a land-grab by media companies, telcos and digital platforms vying for pole position in a green-field segment with an attractive consumer proposition. Debates over the value of digital monetization relative to TV will only get more involved and complex over time,’ the company said.

MPA cites the success of Star India’s digital platform Hotstar, which reached new highs with more than 200 million people streaming its coverage of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament. Qatar-based broadcaster BeIn Media Group also operates Asia Pacific’s largest pan-regional OTT sports platform, BeIn Connect, with a footprint covering Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Japan’s sports streaming service Dazn is also highlighted as being close to break even after its launch in 2016. Facebook is also hoping to acquire exclusive English Premier League (EPL) football rights in Thailand and Vietnam “following an agenda-setting but unsuccessful US$600 million bid for IPL cricket in 2017”, said MPA. Amazon is also now in the sporting arena, having acquired ATP tennis and a tranche of EPL football rights in the UK.

Australia’s Optus, which has attracted attention after streaming problems marred its World Cup coverage , has paid almost US$300 million for two seasons of EPL football.

“We expect bidding for live rights to escalate across the region over the next two years as sports-based digital platforms rive viewership, especially in large ad-dominated growth economies such as India and Indonesia as well as big mature markets such as Australia and Japan,” said Srivathsan.

Some sports franchises are also reaching out directly to consumers. Australia’s National Rugby League and Cricket Australia, for example, run their own services for fans outside the country. Mixed martial arts property One Championship has also launched a free ad-based digital service.

“Many franchises share free highlights and archive content, although others are looking at more direct monetisation, pioneered by the NBA League Pass,” Srivathsan said. “These services offer one-to-one and customised fan relationships that can drive engagement and merchandise sales,” said Srivathsan.