Sports audiences increasingly turning to digital | Media Analysis | Business
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In the US, pay-TV still dominates the sports landscape, but audiences are increasingly shifting to digital video platforms.
sports OTT 26 jan 2018
That’s according to eMarketer, which also found that this disruption is led by companies like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter are bidding for highly prized US streaming rights for games.

“Disruption is coming from several areas: subscription-based streaming services from the top leagues, standalone services run by broadcasters and independent start-ups, linear over-the-top (OTT) services that deliver live TV content over the internet, and social and digital media companies that have enough capital to buy coveted streaming rights,” the firm said. “While mobile is a big factor in the shift from traditional pay TV to OTT, a highly developed US connected TV market is serving fans who like to watch their favourite teams’ games on the biggest available screen.”

Each of the four top sports leagues offers a direct-to-consumer (D2C) streaming plan in the US, ranging from standalone services such as MLB.TV to NFL’s Sunday Ticket, which is tethered to DirecTV satellite customers and, as its name implies, limited to Sunday games. The pricing varies from league to league and depends on whether users pay monthly or seasonally. But, generally, users who buy entire seasons will shell out at least $250 per year.

“In addition to the big four, US consumers have access to a large selection of sports content on digital platforms,” eMarketer said. “In fact, many ‘niche’ sports are available only digitally.”

Additionally, eMarketer's reporting estimates that there were just as many viewers of eSports as NBA viewers in 2018, with 63 million each. Only the NFL and MLB had larger audiences, at 139 million and 83 million, respectively.

There’s much on offer for media rights player: An October 2018 study by PwC noted that media rights, the largest component of the sports economy in North America, will reach $23.80 billion in 2022, up from $20.94 billion in 2019.