Once there were very few stakeholders, with dominant media in each market, exclusive packages for advertisers for big events live. Then, which is now, the media landscape became highly fragmented. Traditional broadcasters competing with digital players (social media platforms, streaming platforms…) for both audiences and dollars, having to pivot their business to be able to use their traditional assets (free-to-air, pay TV) and mix it with OTT and digital services. Some anticipate that tomorrow media landscape will be consolidated again and that we enter the age of aggregators, where consumers will be able to create their own menu inside integration platforms. We are not there yet, but most likely sooner that expected. It already happened in music and entertainment.
When it comes to contents, there are clear trends that seem to appear. What do people consume? Sports is now consumed in very different ways. Live is not dead, but live is not everything anymore. New formats are growing. One of them is highlights, available generally on different free platforms such as YouTube. No more need to watch your favorite sport channel live, you can have great highlights right after the game. Athletes generated contents are rising and athletes are their own brand, their own media. Another one is original contents, from long formats to series. Great examples with The Last Dance, Take us Home (Leeds United)…
Where do people like more and more to consume? According to recent PWC Sports Survey 2020. First comes social media platforms. Then are following the aggregators such as Apple TV… Follow the OTT offerings, and still important are piracy streaming. Always interesting to see what and how people consume sports illegally, it gives a lot of insights on what could be done to develop better offers. Aggregators seem to have a nice future, and we enter in the area of collaboration more than exclusivities.
This fragmentation gives also room for sports rights holders to develop their own D2C solutions, their own OTT, as it is happening more frequently, getting to know their fans and getting their new currency, data. And to create D2C solutions, as sports organizations, live again is not everything. Look at MLB inviting fans to create their own highlights using best moments of their favorite teams thanks to fantastic archives.
New technologies also represent a great opportunity to engage audiences. Some mentioned by this report are VR integration, social media live feeds, multiple audio or camera options, interactive communication features, fan forum, betting integration etc. Lots of room for improvement in the sports consumption experience.
The unprecedent crisis linked to COVID19 (where entertainment and tourism are the two most hit categories), added to the already rapidly changing media landscape make that both media and sports organizations have to pivot their business model, all looking to reach and engage the biggest audience possible. Brands are also facing a large number of options. Sport consumption habits are changing, business models are changing. Future will tell, in a very complex situation.