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Live sports — traditional TV’s flagship bulwark against digital disruption — appears to be in trouble.
Viewership across major sports programming like the NFL and English Premier League has underwhelmed in the 2016-17 TV season. Meanwhile, subscriptions for pay-TV and, in turn, for sports networks like ESPN, are in free fall.
The causes behind the decline of live sports viewership are varied and complex. In addition to cyclical issues at play, sports programming is falling prey to the wealth of new content produced by the rise of new media platforms.
And as more and more TV viewers cut the cord, live sports content itself is moving off the TV screen and onto other devices. Last year’s NFL broadcasts on Twitter were just the beginning of digital disruption in the live sports arena. In fact, Amazon, a far mightier force than Twitter, will host the same slate of games online next season. And similarly formidable tech companies — namely, Google and Facebook — are also setting their sights on live sports. Will broadcasters be able to thrive or even survive in this emerging environment?
In a new report, BI Intelligence takes a deep dive into the decline of live sports on TV. The report explains how digital disruption and shifting consumer habits are contributing to this decline, and profiles the promising new players in the space. In addition, it discusses emerging business models for the live sports industry, and what’s next for legacy broadcasters as they strive to adapt.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- As cord-cutting continues to accelerate, it’s growing more difficult for live sports to resist the shift away from linear TV.
- Meanwhile, the increasing cost of sports broadcast rights and, accordingly, the higher advertising rates for brands, is making the current live sports business model unsustainable.
- With the legacy live sports model in decline, social and digital video platforms are making large strides to acquire sports programming.
- Broadcasters will likely be forced to relinquish a slice of the lucrative revenue pie generated by live sports content.
In full, the report:
- Assesses the evolving live sports landscape.
- Examines how ESPN’s business model is threatened by the decline of live sports.
- Profiles the promising new players in the space.
- Looks at what’s next for legacy broadcasters.
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