A study from Ampere Analysis which assessed nearly 1,300 rights deals in the big five European markets – UK, Italy, Germany, France, and Spain – predicts 2022 will see sports rights spend from streaming subscription services increase from the 12 per cent seen in 2021.
The research expects that DAZN and Amazon, two of the biggest spending streaming businesses with rights to some of sports premium properties, will reach a combined spend of more than €2.3 billion (US$2.52 billion) by the end of 2022.
Since DAZN first secured a package of Uefa Champions League matches in Germany in 2017, spending from digital players has reached a point where each of the five top domestic European soccer leagues now has at least one broadcast partner in the space.
According to Ampere, last year saw UK-based DAZN become the third-largest spender on sports broadcast rights across the big five European markets, behind only Comcast-owned multi-territory pay-TV broadcaster Sky and Telefonica in Spain.
Breaking it down by country, Italy is the top market in Europe for sports rights revenue generated by over-the-top (OTT) services, with 53 per cent of fees to be derived from the sector by the end of the year. Germany (32 per cent), Spain (16 per cent), and France (14 per cent) are also all seeing significant sports spend from streaming platforms.
In the UK, the dominance of Sky means that just two per cent of sports rights spending is digitally-led. That is not to say that it lacks infrastructure, with all major providers offering streaming products.
With 58 per cent penetration, the UK actually ranks second highest – after Italy – of Europe’s major markets in terms of the percentage of sports fans with access to at least one subscription streaming service showing live sports. This is largely due to Amazon’s big UK user base.
Ampere estimates that DAZN will spend €2.1 billion (US$2.3 billion) on sports rights in 2022 across all its markets globally, but predominantly across Italy, Germany and Spain, where it has its largest deals. Amazon, with its much more limited portfolio of rights, is predicted to climb from tenth to sixth place among the companies spending on sports rights.
Sky continues to be the largest investor in sports rights across the five countries, Ampere says, with its total spend of €4 billion (US$4.39 billion) representing around a third of all sports rights fees in the big five European markets.
Ampere Analysis analyst Ben McMurray said: “In the most developed markets, fixed-line broadband is approaching ubiquity and subscription OTT is already in as many households as pay-TV, so internet access is no longer a limiting factor. However, streaming services nonetheless need to solve business model challenges before they can seriously rival incumbent pay-TV groups.
“Sustaining the current level of investment in sports rights without the benefit of the economics of bundling will be one of the key issues for subscription OTT players entering the sports rights market.” Sports Pro Media