In the cheers that were made before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis on the future of streaming, back in January 2020, recurring projections of short-term success were made on sports. The next great streaming war was expected to be that of sports broadcasts .
More and more viewers had streaming services – and they also seemed less willing to pay for the expensive packages that gave access to sports – and this could make them open to sports subscriptions. Television was losing its scepter in live shows and emerging platforms began to appear that wanted to conquer the sports market. Before entering confinement, one of the ubiquitous campaigns at bus stops in some Spanish cities was those of Dazn, a sports streaming platform.
Then came the coronavirus crisis and sports streaming platforms encountered the same problem as sports television networks. The big competitions were suspended in half the world and there was no content. Without that claim, you could not move forward and capture viewers, so the battle of sports streaming seemed to stay for another day.
Now, normality seems closer and closer and the war for sports has returned to the table. The traditional players in this industry have more and more competition and the future in which VoD platforms and new players are settling in the sports market seems closer than ever.
The VoD assault on football
In fact, you could say that the football war is migrating to streaming. In some countries rights have already been bought and in others it is debated to change the rules of the game to make it possible. Amazon has already taken over the rights to the French league.
It has created its own channel, Prime Video Ligue 1, accessible by an extra for Amazon Prime users, and has the broadcasting rights of 80% of the matches of the gala league. The price is not very high: they are 12.99 euros per month, to add to the 49 euros per year that Prime costs in France.
In the UK, Amazon has also acquired the rights to some of the League’s matches. The truth is that you don’t even have to go that far. The auction of soccer rights in Spain is at the end of the great battle is already in determining how many years they will be auctioned and who will benefit from it.
The football association wants to fragment how it is sold in order to reach more potential spectators. With this movement, if it is finally approved by market regulators and the industry accepts it, it could open the hand to the purchase of rights to players such as Amazon or Dazn. And if the great sports competitions come out of traditional television and the premium packages of the operators in which they were framed until now, things will also change in the entire industry derived from it.
That is, they will have a direct effect on how advertising is bought and sold and what type of ads are served. It could even promote the consecration of new models, such as watching sports for free or at a lower cost in streaming with advertising load. Sports could become the accolade for the consecration of the AVoD.
They accept ads with their sports
This is what a Magid study defends for Tubi (which is still an interested party: it is one of the AVoD platforms in the US market). According to their conclusions, the consumption of sports streaming is right now the most dynamic of the trends in consumption of online content. Viewers who watch sports online have AVoD as their preference: they want to continue watching their sports on the net, but they want to do it for free even if they have to ‘suffer’ from the ads.
Streaming has become something that many viewers do already (64% of US adults on a weekly basis, according to this study, but 78 and 82%, respectively, of Gen Z and millennials). Access to content on the web has been linked to entertainment. It is where series and movies are seen, but viewers are more open to more and more formats.
This is where sports come in. If sports migrate out of broadcast space, so will the associated ads. Tubi estimates that a quarter of sports advertising budgets will migrate to streaming in the next year and a half.