2019 heralds “unprecedented growth” for sports broadcasters: Tata Comms | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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This year will be the start of “a new era of unprecedented commercial growth for broadcasters, [sports] rights holders and sports organisations,” due to digital technology innovation.
Formula1 22Mar2018
So says a new report examining the commercial transformation of sports by India’s Tata Communications, which identifies 2019 as a “defining tipping point for the global sports industry”.

Featuring examples from Formula 1, MotoGP and European Tour, plus global bank HSBC and over-the-top (OTT) platform DAZN, the report highlights that video streaming platforms, eSports, VR apps and other technology innovations are becoming major revenue drivers for sports alongside media rights, event attendance, sponsorship and merchandising. They can both grow the size of an event’s global audience and boost fan engagement, making it more attractive for sponsors and advertisers.

A successful digital strategy is, found the report, “all about augmenting the fan experience”, such as connecting people around the world to the live action in immersive ways.

Digital platforms also allow sports to create emotional connections: for example, providing fans direct access to sports stars through platforms like Instagram. This, researchers said, “makes them ‘stickier’ from a commercial perspective – so more likely to buy TV and streaming subscriptions, more likely to attend events and more likely to buy merchandise”.

The now blurred lines between traditional media and digital platforms have caused what the report terms a “seismic shift in the entertainment landscape”. This has removed geographical boundaries and highlighted the need for a rethink in sports revenue generation.

With boundaries torn down, digital platforms also offer sports to wider geographies and audience demographics that were previously not reached, said Tata Communicaitons’ report, Show Me The Money .

“This report demonstrates that 2019 can be a defining tipping point for the sports industry. Digital technologies are kick-starting a new era of fan engagement, and it’s going to be fascinating to see where the journey takes us. Yet, it’s important to remember that digital technologies are the friend, not the enemy, of the live experience,” said Mehul Kapadia, managing director of Tata Communications’ F1 business and the company’s global head of marketing.

“So, as the digital fan experience gets better, the pressure is increased to ensure that fans at venues can engage with the action in new ways too. A holistic fan engagement strategy enables broadcasters, rights holders and other key players in the sports ecosystem to maximise the commercial opportunities that digital platforms offer,” added Kapadia.

Matchroom Sport is cited as an example in the report, as it has expanded big-time boxing beyond the ring into a “collective fan experience which can be shared and augmented through OTT broadcasting, live-streaming and social media,” according to Marcus Parnwell from OTT platform DAZN.

Ultimately, said Frank Arthofer, global head of digital and new business, Formula 1, the “direction of travel is to evolve digital platforms like official websites and social media channels to become content hubs for fans and a place for brand partners to integrate authenticity into the storytelling”.