Broadcasters Must Prepare For OTT Competition For Sports Broadcast Rights, Says Researcher

BASINGSTOKE, England — Television networks will face increasingly stiff competition for sports league broadcasting rights as OTT challengers, such as Amazon Prime, enter the ring with attractive bids, according to a new report for Juniper Research.

The report, “The Future of Sports Content: Technologies, Broadcast Strategies & eSports 2018–2023,” predicts significant disruption for broadcasters over the next decade as the rights to telecast two major sports leagues come up for renewal. Specifically, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League could shake things up as OTT players bid for rights to their games.

[Read: Fox Sports Readies The Field For World Series]

“According to our analysis, Amazon would only require 1.7 million new Prime subscribers to pay for Turner’s current MLB rights package priced in the region of $3 billion for eight years,” said Lauren Foye, who authored the report.

To counter the threat, the research firm recommends broadcasters deploy new technologies, such as augmented reality, AI-driven cognitive highlights, like those provided by Fox Sports with the assistance of IBM’s Watson Media for the 2018 World Cup, and 360-degree camera angles, to drive audience engagement.

Broadcasters must also begin taking advantage of the opportunities eSports presents by partnering with publishers of games or eSports leagues for exclusive content and media to be broadcast, the research group recommends.

In addition to the report, Juniper Research has published a white paper, “Three Technologies Set to Revolutionize Sports Content,” offering insight on AR, cognitive highlights, 360-degree cameras and other technologies that offer the potential to drive greater viewer engagement.

Juniper says the stakes are high and will only grow higher. The spending generated by professional sports wearable technologies and the subscription fees viewers will pay to access that content as well as the ad and subscription fee spending for eSports will reach $3.4 billion by 2023, up from $700 million this year, the new research says.

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Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.