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Sports media rights investments in India to grow by 10.1% over 2021-26: MPA report

Market for sports rights and media revenues across APAC have recovered in 2021 post Covid-19.

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Mumbai: Sports media rights investments in India will grow at 10.1 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over 2021-26, bolstered by demand for cricket properties, led by the Indian Premier League (IPL), according to a report by Media Partners Asia (MPA) released on Friday.

The report, which tracks the growth of sports rights and TV and online video sports revenues and subscribers across 14 markets in Asia Pacific (APAC), found that the market for sports rights and sports media revenues across APAC have recovered in 2021 after the damaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and is expected to grow at a sustainable rate over 2021-2026.

Overview

As per MPA, sports rights for APAC contracted by $1.2 billion in 2020 while sports media revenues fell by ~$0.9 billion in the same year. The rights values crashed in China in 2020 while revenue contraction was marked in Australia and Japan. The year 2021 saw significant recovery in rights values and revenue, which MPA expects will continue in 2022, ensuring that rights values return to pre-pandemic levels, surpassing the absolute value of rights registered in 2018.

Sports media revenues

Asia Pacific sports revenues in TV and online video will grow at a combined six per cent CAGR between 2021 to 2026. Sports revenues will grow from $6.7 billion in 2021 to $8.9 billion by 2026.

Sports media revenues contracted by 15 per cent i.e., $0.9 billion in 2020, during the pandemic, and recovered by more than 30 per cent in 2021. They are projected to grow by 11 per cent in 2022.

In 2021, sports media revenue growth was especially significant in Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, led by Indonesia and Thailand.

Australia, China, India and Japan will contribute more than 82 per cent to sports media revenues in 2022 that will increase to 83 per cent by 2026, stated the report.

The contribution of online video in overall sports media revenues will increase from 28 per cent in 2021 to 33 per cent in 2022 further growing to 42 per cent by 2026. The major market drivers of sports media revenues via online video are Australia and New Zealand, China, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan.

TV will remain critical in India, Japan, Korea and Malaysia but its overall share of APAC sports revenues will fall from 72 per cent in 2021 to 58 per cent in 2026.

Sports rights

By 2022, sports rights across APAC markets will grow by 5.6 per cent to reach $6.5 billion. It will further grow at a CAGR of four per cent to reach $7.4 billion by 2026.

Australia, China, India and Japan dominate when it comes to sports rights investment with 77 per cent share of total sports investments in 2022 that will grow to 79 per cent share of investments by 2026.

Football leads the sports rights market in APAC with the Premier League topping the list of individual properties. Rights for the 2022-2025 Premier League have fallen by ~25 per cent to $1.4 billion because of substantial deterioration of the sports media rights in China. Excluding China, Premier League rights values for APAC grew by 10 per cent to $1.2 billion driven by healthy increases in Australia and New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Thailand.

The main driver for recovery in sports media revenues and sports rights across APAC will be consumer and advertiser demand for live sports across integrated streaming entertainment and sports platforms along with TV networks in key geographies, stated the report.

“Sports remains vital in Asia Pacific as a tactical weapon to build brand and market share and in certain instances, pricing power,” said MPA executive director Vivek Couto. “However premium tier-1 rights generally remain loss leaders or break even bets, especially in the case of marquee football and cricket properties. TV platforms remain important for the value of sports rights and monetisation but the growth of online video as well as tighter consumer and advertising wallets have squeezed growth in key Asia Pacific markets with many players impacted by cord cutting as customers continue to churn to: (1) Integrated entertainment and sports streaming platforms; (2) Pure play sports streaming platforms; and (3) Piracy. TV reach and revenues will however grow at a robust rate in large scale markets such as India, which emerged as the second-largest TV sports market through the pandemic, after Japan.”

Adding further, he said, “Meanwhile, the rapid growth of online video distribution has boosted sports rights and revenues through SVOD and 'freemium' windows, especially in markets such as Australia, India, Indonesia and Korea. The economics of pure play sports streaming remains challenging; integrated entertainment and sports platforms remain on a stronger path while TV and streaming bundles will continue to play an important part in unlocking the value of sports.”

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