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PwC: Live Streaming Helps Drive Sports Rights Increases

A new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers says that television, mobile and online sports rights will become the largest part of the sports entertainment sector by 2018, driven by increased demand from streaming and over-the-top services.

According to PwC’s new sports industry report – At the Gate and Beyond: Outlook for the sports market in North America through 2020 – rights for broadcast, cable, Internet and mobile rights will reach $19.9 billion by 2018, outpacing revenue from sponsorships ($17.5 billion) and live gate revenue ($19.8 billion) that year. Media rights revenue growth is expected to stabilize over the next five years to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 5.5%, after a torrid pace in the past decade.

PwC believes that consumer and advertiser engagement with live game broadcasts will remain strong, keeping rights in demand with traditional sources as well as with social media and other emerging distribution partners. That already is beginning to happen, with Twitter’s agreement to carry certain National Football League games over its service.

While broadcast rights will still be a priority, so will reaching deals with new digital products to attract new audiences, deepen engagement and displace any rights fee premium lost as pay-TV moves away from or within the bundle, PwC said.

Sports properties will keep an eye on emerging technologies like personalized video, 3D video, virtual reality, augmented video and augmented reality for premium, immersive experiences with either live or archived content – but PwC believes it’s too early to determine their impact on the sports market value chain.