Leading 15 sports leagues to hold $66.9BN in global media rights by 2028 | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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With traditional pay-TV in a downward spiral and content spending by streaming firms set to be flat, sports is the last redoubt and, says a study from Rethink TV, media rights revenues (MRRs) of the Top 15 Leagues will grow at a CAGR of 8.87% from the $43.8 billion banked in 2023.
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The analyst stresses that more so than any other content vertical, live sports seems to be the definitive means by which the TV industry values a video service with a captive fanbase willing to jump through hoops to watch the games, as well as one or two zeitgeist moments of the calendar year which will draw astonishing traffic to whichever service is playing host.

Setting a benchmark for its new analysis, Rethink TV regards the Top 15 Leagues (in terms of MRR) as providing a healthy variety of revenue size, geography (of both the league and its audience) and sports played, while also collectively making up a significant enough portion of the total sports rights market to serve as a legitimate bellwether.

Moreover, the analyst said the premium reputation that precedes live sports content has driven up demand, as all emerging video services vie to prove themselves as stalwart of the media and entertainment landscape. It also observed that when combining this with the “desperation” of pay-TV platforms, who see their legacy sports contracts as the final hurdle preventing their dubious customers from churning exclusively to the streamers, the result is a rapidly inflating rights market with no end in sight.

It noted that between 2014 and 2023, MRRs for the Top 15 Leagues more than doubled, set to grow to $43.8 billion this year. Rethink TV predicts all 15 leagues will see growth in their MRRs over the next five years, although to widely varying extents. Major League Baseball (MLB) will see the slowest growth, at a CAGR of just 1.98% over the next five years, while the National Basketball Association (NBA) is set to grow at a CAGR of 26.30%, reaching $13.5 billion in 2028.

Looking forward, Rethink TV said the day would come when sports leagues cut off all their licensing agreements in certain territories and take their content direct to the consumer (DTC) via a proprietary streaming platform such as that being done with the NBA League Pass. That said, it did note that to date no rights-owner has yet taken a decisive step towards self-sufficient and exclusive distribution, opting in the meantime to run their platforms around any traditional rights agreements they hold.