Did You See That Play? Why Highlights Are So Important For Sports Media Distributors
The consumption of sports highlights is expected to grow at a faster pace than live sports content, and the ability to target sports fans through the creation of personalized material will be a top priority for media distributors. That is one of many high-level findings delivered by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the third edition of its annual Sports Survey.
On September 24, The Sports Biz highlighted a Limelight Networks report that made it seem as though hardcore sports fans may want to wait a while until they cut the cord based on the delay of live events by thirty seconds or more from the broadcast feed. However, PwC appears to diminish the importance of such delay since consumers are continuously shifting away from consuming “live” content to appreciating non-live sports content such as highlights on social media.
The PwC report takes the position that sports consumption habits are evolving to be increasingly mobile, online and short-form. Highlights and on-demand video are expected to grow the most in the next three-to-five years in comparison to live video content, team/athlete-generated content, fan-generated content, etc.
“We are fast approaching a tipping point where digital will overtake linear in terms of media consumption, and so sports content will need to find creative ways to appeal to fans that are ‘digital first’ in order to maintain their attention,” says David Dellea, Head of PwC Sports Business Advisory.
That “digital first” mission should likely be driven not only by shifting resources to better perfect distributors’ OTT offerings, but also to focus a bit more on crafting strong personalized and consumable highlights. As the PwC report indicates, viewers under 35-years-old are not tuning in to watch live events with the same degree of intensity as those over 35-years-of-age.
Additionally, PwC found that the vast majority of respondents to its survey believed that sponsors need to build better personalized fan/customer targeting through improved CRM data as their top priority. It echos what Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer said at the Esports BAR Miami conference on September 24, which was that brands should focus less on being “authentic” with their audiences and more on how they can add value to consumers to be effective. While Nanzer was focusing specifically on the esports industry, the advice fits the traditional sports marketplace as well.
But speaking of esports, PwC found that esports is perceived as having the most potential to grow revenues globally among different areas of sport. Respondents generally forecasted that the esports industry will double in size by 2022.
70.5% of respondents to its survey suggested that traditional sports leagues and team owners must develop a strategy to enter the esports arena if they have not done so already. 74% believe that they should acquire or partner with an existing esports team instead of starting from scratch, and 84% like the idea of extending an existing traditional sports brand to esports as opposed to creating a new, standalone esports brand.
PwC surveyed 470 sport industry leaders to collect the results for the third edition of its Sports Survey. The survey was conducted between May and June 2018. Responses were received from leaders across forty-two countries. 61.1% of the respondents indicated they know more about the European market than any other geographic region.