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A study from media processing and delivery technology provider Appear has found that sports broadcast investment has bounced back from a Covid lull with companies making low level investments higher than pre-pandemic levels and mid-range and high levels of investment are on the rise.
Appear IABM sports bro 25May2022
The report, The Impact Of Covid-19 On Sports Broadcasting Technology Investments, created in partnership with IABM, surveyed broadcasters across the US and UK an investigated monetary investments sports broadcasters made before and during the pandemic. Following healthy levels of investment in 2019, 2020 saw budgets frozen or reduced for over half (53%) of sports broadcasters. 2021 then saw significantly more broadcasters investing over $501,000 in new technology to make up for lost ground. The study found that in 2022, 73% of sports broadcasters stated that they expect their investment budget to increase compared to 2021, while none expected their budgets to decrease.

While 2019’s most significant investment for sports broadcasters was in production equipment, the most popular investment in 2020 was predictably in remote production equipment. 2021 also saw investments in lightweight compression take the top spot, and predicts that for 2022 cameras are being touted as the top technology broadcasters are looking to upgrade.

Recognising the complications in getting staff on the ground because of the pandemic, the research points to the fact that investment in 2020 and 2021 was about firming up sports broadcasters’ infrastructure. Ensuring consistent access to content was the first priority, hence the strong investment in remote production equipment and lightweight compression tools. With cameras taking the top spot in 2022, the trend now seems to be about improving the quality of services having invested in robust infrastructures.

When asked explicitly about the main drivers behind these investments sports broadcasters said that they were to support the delivery of content to more viewers, and to enable new capabilities that would maintain competitive edge. Appear said that the increased investments in cameras and encoders certainly aligns with these drivers.

“This research highlights a consistent theme we see with our customers, while there was a rush to adopt new technologies to keep the ship afloat among the troubled waters of 2020, there is recognised need to not just deal with today’s problems but to invest in tackling tomorrow’s,” said Appear CEO Thomas B. Jørgensen commenting on The Impact Of Covid-19 On Sports Broadcasting Technology Investments. “Sports broadcasting is a fiercely competitive field. Maintaining a distinct competitive advantage is key to thriving in it. Consumers don’t just want variety, they demand quality. Deloitte found that the single most important factor for sports fans is the quality of the broadcast or stream. Investments in 2020 and 2021 were about getting that content to viewers, while 2022 looks to be all about improving the quality and experience for audiences.”

"The report on sports broadcasting technology investment, produced by Appear in partnership with IABM, shows an industry that is back to natural evolution after the exceptional innovation driven by pandemic-induced disruption,” added Lorenzo Zanni, head of knowledge at IABM. “Investment in technologies such as new image capture has returned, but the report also shows that the big shift to remote production necessitated by the pandemic has become permanent and fundamentally changed some technology investment priorities.”