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Sports industry ‘more disrupted than ever’

Annual survey predicts the industry’s growth rate will slow by over 32 per cent in the next three to five years

The global sports industry is suffering from more disruption than ever before, according to the latest PwC report.

The 2017 edition of PwC’s annual Sports Survey stated that, as a result of ongoing shifts in media consumption, the emergence of new technologies and a rapidly evolving sponsorship market, the industry’s growth rate will slow by over 32 per cent in the coming three to five years.

However, it is predicted that the industry will grow by an average of 6.4 per cent over the same period.

The report states that, due to the rise of the smart phone, along with the growth of high-speed internet throughout many countries, consumption habits have shifted ‘irreversiby’ away from linear programming, particularly among millennials.

PwC listed the top three disruptive forces in the sports media market as the ongoing proliferation of new platforms; an expansion of mobile internet and ubiquitous access to sports content through mobile devices; and rights holders changing their distribution strategies to establish direct relationships with fans.

The increasing interest in sports rights among big tech companies such as Facebook and Amazon has been one the top trends in sports media of late, and PwC’s report notes how these firms are set to play an even more forceful role in rights auctions in the coming years.

The report cites Facebook’s recent acquisition of streaming rights to UEFA Champions League football from Fox Sports in the US, as well as Amazon’s recent purchase of rights to the National Football League (NFL) and ATP World Tour, as signs that both companies are getting more serious about sport.