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‘Lose rights, lose subscribers’ say sports fans

Seventy-eight per cent of sports subscribers would consider cancelling if provider lost the rights to their favourite sports

The majority (78 per cent) of sports subscribers would consider leaving or switching provider if it lost the rights to their favourite sports, according to the latest Broadband Genie research.

By far the most in demand was football (74 per cent), followed by motorsport (27 per cent), rugby (23 per cent) and tennis (23 per cent).

Sport is a big influence for most of these subscribers when choosing a TV package. Fifty-seven per cent said these channels had a strong influence on which TV package they chose, while a further 29 per cent said it had at least a slight influence. It was also found that of the 46 per cent surveyed that had a sport channel with their TV package, just over half (51 per cent) had subscribed and paired multiple sport channels, such as Sky Sports and BT Sport.

Rob Hilborn, head of strategy, Broadband Genie, said: “Providers are often criticised for spending huge sums of money on sport, but what’s clear is that failing to invest in this content would risk upsetting a core base of their TV subscribers. Many are subscribed to their services purely for sport content, leaving providers in a predicament: continue to spend record sums on securing these rights, or lose their subscribers to a competitor.”

Amazon and other tech giants’ recent move to host sport could present new challenges for the traditional sport broadcasters in the UK. Just over half (51 per cent) of people who don’t have a TV package say they don’t because of the cost of the service. In comparison a service such as Amazon Instant, which just secured the rights to broadcast ATP tennis in the UK, is a much cheaper option.

Hilborn added: “This could be the start of a major shift in the sport broadcasting market. These global tech companies have huge stockpiles of cash, meaning companies such as BT and Sky would struggle to fend them off if they make acquiring sports rights a serious priority.

“For the consumer, this could open the door to getting their favourite sports at a lower cost. But equally the market could become even more dispersed, leaving sport fans needing even more services to get the content they want.”