TDG: online live sports set to alter TV industry fundamentally

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 23 December 2014

Live sports are set to play a defining role in determining the pace and extent of the on-going shift from legacy to online TV, says new research from TDG.

TDGsportsonlie reportIn its report, Game On! The Future of Sports Video Viewing, 2015-2025, the analyst predicted a ten-fold increase in broadband-based sports video consumption over the next decade. In addition TDG sees the growing relevance of broadband distribution as presenting 'significant' strategic challenges and opportunities to TV industry stakeholders, including sports leagues, networks, MVPDs, both legacy and virtual

"Americans love sports and, most would agree, sports is the backbone of the TV industry in general and legacy pay-TV in particular," says Joel Espelien, TDG senior advisor and author of the new report. "Whether measured in ratings or revenue, TV coverage of live amateur and professional sporting events is big business. The big money that defines sports programming will follow consumers, viewers who engage broadband sports on all screens, not just the living room TV."

Yet the Game On! The Future of Sports Video Viewing, 2015-2025 report also added a cautionary note, asking why, with so much enthusiasm for sports, and a broadening conception of TV viewing, was sports viewing via broadband dramatically under-represented relative to sports viewing on legacy TV.

Espelien pointed to two factors: existing long-term sports broadcasting agreements, and fears of disrupting the massive flow of money market players associated with the status quo. He also expected this gap to close gradually over the next decade, with what he called 'massive' growth in weekly per-capita broadband sports video viewing growing tenfold, from less than half an hour in 2014 to four hours in 2025.