Why Sports Streaming Spectatorship is the Next Big Thing
June 13, 2022 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Those not watching this space closely could be forgiven for thinking sports streaming spectatorship represents little more than a sub-sector of the broader streaming industry. While, of course, that's true in one respect, this misses a major point. The production studios of Netflix and Amazon spend millions of dollars each year and draw on enormous resources in order to deliver their subscribers with a steady flow of new content to watch, yet they're always in a losing battle. With seasons that take 3 years to make being binge-watched in a single evening, these platforms face a constant uphill battle.
This is not the case with sports, as major leagues can rely on intergenerational allegiances to teams, and reliable, consistent spectatorship that transcends all boundaries of culture and language to reliably ensure viewing figures remain steady. As such, the sports streaming sector is a golden goose waiting to hatch for those investing in it. Netflix knows how precious this market is, hence why it's increasingly pouring resources into developing sporting TV series such as The Last Dance and Drive to Survive. Yet what it really wants is the rights to live events, licenses carefully guarded by a consortium of old guard media stalwarts and hyper-focused sports oriented content challengers like DAZN and ESPN+, and officially sanctioned apps such as https://www.nfl.com/redzone/ and F1 TV.
The FIFA World Cup
To get to grips with just how big a deal this sector is, one need only look at the projected viewership figures for the upcoming FIFA World Cup due to take place in Qatar (https://www.fifa.com/tournaments/mens/worldcup/qatar2022) later this year. The tournament is predicted to draw in around 5 billion people, up from the 3.5 billion confirmed figure of the previous 2018 World Cup held in Russia. To be clear, 5 billion is approximately 63% of all humanity, making it set to be the single most spectated event in history. While it's an uncharitable comparison, it's still illustrative that Bridgerton, Netflix's most streamed show ever, has only been watched by an estimated 196 million people. Impressive of course, but this is less than 4% of the projected numbers for the World Cup.
The uptick to Qatar's domestic infrastructure and global profile will be enormous across all sectors, with a new airport, 7 new stadiums and a new metro system all likely to benefit the small state for years to come. But this impact will be more immediately felt elsewhere, such as by the sportsbooks that service the region like https://arabianbetting.com/en/, who will be particularly well situated to benefit from the increased patronage on offer. Of the 50,000 Arabic speaking sports fans it supports in the Middle East and Maghreb region, it's reasonable to expect a decent percentage of them will take advantage of its competitive bonuses and offers come kick off. As for the United States, broadcast rights for the event were acquired by ESPN for the 2010 and 2014 events for $400 million. In the run up to the 2018 tournament, Fox beat out ESPN with a bid of over $453 million for the exclusive English language rights to the next 3 tournaments, though it's worth noting that Telemundo, in the same bid, acquired the Spanish speaking rights for $600 million. This reflects the wider appeal of the game, and larger market, among the latinx sports fans. With interest in soccer growing steadily on the rise in the Anglophone US however, Qatar will likely prove to be a noteworthy coup for Fox.
As mentioned above, one of the major challenges that content producers like Netflix face is that it is virtually impossible to outpace demand for new films and TV series. Contrasting this with the global sports industry, we can see that the clear call of fixture congestion in events ranging from gridiron football to golf is a sure sign that not only is there more than enough content to keep sports fans occupied, there's arguably too much already.
Placing the implications of this for the athletes themselves delicately to one side for the moment, and allowing for the fact that not everyone watches sports, we are still left with some hard facts for investors. The global sports industry, which is experiencing its biggest growth window in tech and streaming spectatorship, is on track to break 500 billion by the end of 2022, up from just 354 billion in 2021. That's a CAGR of 41.3%, which is exceptional by anyone's measure.
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