Serendipity can be a wonderful thing. While writing this blog about the latest addition to our sports portfolio, I was trying to recall who England was playing when Beckham scored a last-minute, 25-yard free kick to take England to the 2002 FIFA™ World Cup finals. Somewhat miraculously, UK BBC radio station 5 Live happened to replay that moment as I started writing. Now, I am not much of a football fan, but I remember this because the friend with whom I was watching the match, jumped up involuntarily, screamed with delight and broke an overhead light fitting. Such is the power of sport.
Since then, we’ve seen a huge rise in the cost of sports rights and that trend remains upwards. “Sports rights account for over one quarter of all TV content spend worldwide,” was the opening sentence of a recent Broadcast Sport news item, highlighting the results of recent research from Ampere Analysis. Last year, 26 per cent of content spend was focused on sports rights at a global value of $38bn. As the report highlights, this is nearly double what it was in 2012 ($20bn).
And there’s more. As the Broadcast Sport story puts it, “The percentage spend on sports rights was higher in the EU than in the US. In 2018, broadcasters and pay TV operators in the EU big five markets (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain) devoted an average of 33 per cent of content spending to sport, while in the US, the figure was 26 per cent.” For some operators, the spend can be as high as 60 per cent of overall expenditure.
One may conclude from this that we are reaching saturation point but Ampere Analysis says otherwise, arguing that there is still growth expected, not only from emerging markets, but, as Broadcast Sport quotes, “also within established and developed territories like EU big five and the US.”
Not only that, but we’re continuing to see increased coverage of more niche sports coupled with sport being made available on more platforms. And, of course, it’s still huge for linear broadcast. ITV Sport recorded this year’s record UK viewing figure for the Rugby World Cup Final of 12.8 million, according to the Guardian.
Given the cost of sports rights, viewer engagement and the level of competition for viewers, how can more relevant sports content be supplied to more affiliates more of the time at an affordable price point? And all without compromising on quality, vital in sports broadcasting.
This led to us expanding our cloud platform services with the launch of Globecast Managed Cloud Network (Globecast MCN) at IBC 2019. Covering a tennis tournament, as we said at the time, is a good example of where the benefits can be seen. Globecast MCN allows multiple additional feeds to be fed into the cloud at the nearest POP, transported across the world in the cloud and then received at various affiliates’ nearest POPs. This allows each affiliate to air different content – following the matches they choose – without the additional cost of more fibre-delivered feeds or the risk of pure public internet. As competitions move from location to location, this also provides a very simple way to deliver content without the need for onsite installation, with the processing and management complexity handled in the cloud. We can also take care of last-mile connectivity too. Of course, tennis is just an example. There are many other sports events/tournaments where Globecast MCN has a role to play.
Indeed, Globecast MCN can also be used for primary feeds as we used our years of sports broadcasting expertise to develop this service.
We supply an end-to-end solution, including management, signal monitoring – Globecast has multiple, dedicated 24×7 MCRs around the world with comprehensive monitoring capabilities – cloud routing, content security and transport layers. This can include the management of affiliates via a Globecast-provided 24/7 helpdesk. The Globecast MCN routing allows affiliates to request only the feed(s) they need: to save bandwidth costs.
Fibre and satellite delivery clearly still have a key role to play in this arena, but we know we’re very far from a one-size-fits-all market situation now and flexibility is vital. Talk to us to find out how we can create bespoke sports solutions using our modular suite of services so that you can maximise your monetisation opportunities.