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Report: Sports broadcasters plan to increase investment in technology following pandemic lull

New report looks at the way sports broadcasters' investment priorities have changed since the start of the pandemic, with production equipment leading the list in 2019, remote production in 2020, and cameras in 2022

A new report from media processing and delivery technology company Appear has found that 75 per cent of sports broadcasters expect their technology investment budgets to increase during 2022 compared to the previous few years.

The report states that following “healthy levels” of investment in 2019, 2020 saw budgets frozen or reduced for over half (53 per cent) of sports broadcasters. 2021 then saw significantly more broadcasters investing over $501K in new technology to make up for lost ground.

In 2019, sports broadcasters were particularly focused on investing in production equipment, content storage, networking equipment, cameras and remote production – in that order.

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, the report states that remote production became the number one investment priority. Mostly due to sports broadcasters having to change their workflows.

In 2021, remote production dropped out of the list of investment priorities, mostly because the main investments had been made the year before. Instead, last year lightweight compression and networking equipment led the list of priorities.

In 2022, the report predicts sports broadcasters will invest in cameras as their number one priority; followed by ‘origin/packager’ equipment, and remote production.

“Sports broadcasters said that the drivers for their 2022 technology investments were to support the delivery of content to more viewers, and to enable new capabilities that would maintain competitive edge,” said the report. “The increased investments in cameras and encoders certainly aligns with these drivers.”

Speaking about the research Thomas B. Jørgensen, CEO of Appear, said, “This research highlights a consistent theme we see with our customers, while there was a rush to adopt new technologies to keep the ship afloat among the troubled waters of 2020, there is recognised need to not just deal with today’s problems but to invest in tackling tomorrow’s.

“Sports broadcasting is a fiercely competitive field,” he added. “Maintaining a distinct competitive advantage is key to thriving in it. Consumers don’t just want variety, they demand quality. Deloitte found that the single most important factor for sports fans is the quality of the broadcast or stream. Investments in 2020 and 2021 were about getting that content to viewers, while 2022 looks to be all about improving the quality and experience for audiences.”

The full report is available to download here.