As US sports leagues and tournaments resume normal operations, the business of sports video is mostly back to pre-pandemic levels. Viewership will increase on the strength of digital platforms, while connected TV (CTV) ad spending and digital pay TV subscription revenues will also benefit. Legalized sports gambling is emerging as a marketing opportunity in the US. Despite these positive indicators, experts worry about the sky-high prices that sports leagues are commanding for broadcast and streaming rights.
What are the latest viewership and subscription revenue projections around live sports video?
Viewership of digital live sports content in the US will reach 57.5 million this year and 90.7 million by 2025. This growth will come from digital platforms, including virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) and streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, which are ramping up their involvement. While traditional pay TV subscription revenues are declining, digital services—for which sports is a main attraction—are seeing increased revenues, as are sports-specific streaming platforms like ESPN+.
How is sports content affecting the TV and video advertising ecosystem?
While traditional TV spend will decrease, we forecast significant growth in CTV ad spending, driven mostly by live sports programming.
How will negotiations for sports broadcast rights play out in the coming years?
Led by the NFL, US sports leagues continue to command high prices for broadcast and streaming rights. Although some are willing to pay—like traditional broadcasters and Silicon Valley giants—there are questions about the sustainability of sports rights valuations, given the shrinking pay TV universe.
What role will gambling play in the broadcast and streaming of sports content in the US?
Sports gambling, which is now legal in nearly half the US, is emerging as a market opportunity for brands and broadcasters alike. However, enthusiasm is tempered by the potential for unsavory marketing practices, as parts of Europe where sports betting is legal have experienced.
WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report provides an overview of the US sports video ecosystem as the industry emerges from the pandemic, focusing on viewership, ad and subscription revenues, pricing pressures, and implications from sports gambling.
KEY STAT: The number of US digital live sports viewers will reach 57.5 million this year and exceed 90 million in 2025.
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