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Streaming Services Bet Big on Sports Globally

Many streaming services have a new way of attracting viewers: by delving into sports programming. A recent report from Ampere Analysis shows that subscription over-the-top (OTT) services will spend $8.5 billion on global sports rights this year, reaching record levels, and marking a 64% increase in sports funding since 2022.

This also marks a notable difference from the way streaming platforms historically allocated their funds, as original investments focused mainly on unique film and television programming. In 2022, for example, 28% of total original content spending came from platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime and Apple TV. But fans want their sports, and streaming technology has evolved to the point of being able to accommodate those demands with high-quality, low-latency feeds.

New NFL deals with both Amazon and YouTube, for example, mean that streamers will now comprise one-fifth of all sports rights spending in 2023. Other services, including Peacock and the Swedish-owned Viaplay platform, are also boosting their sports rights acquisitions. Yet perhaps no other streamer can currently match the pace of DAZN, a streaming service that launched in Austria, Germany and Switzerland in 2016 and is now leading the charge on sports spending in Europe. The global OTT platform accounted for over half of spending on sports rights by streaming platforms in Europe in 2022.

This progression of sports programming from linear TV to streaming platforms won’t be instantaneous—and no one is saying that fans will stop watching games and matches on live TV. “The transition to streaming will take longer for sports than for other genres,” said Jack Genovese, research manager at Ampere Analysis. “This is in part because of the nature of sports rights deals, which typically span multiple years. However, streaming will offer opportunities for sports to experiment with content, distribution and monetization, which will revolutionize the way in which sports rights are sold and bought in the future.” 

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