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15 July 2022
Cost of US sports rights rockets
SportsSports sponsorshipTV & Connected TV planning & buying
Expect significant increases in the prices of US sport TV and streaming rights, with a jump from $21bn in 2022 to $26bn next year, with rates set to have effectively doubled versus 2015 by 2026.
Why it matters
Variety’s intelligence platform has published some fascinating visualisations of the US sports rights market. Some aspects are unsurprising but there are other details that uncover deeper, more interesting trends.
Some key details
The NFL is the most expensive sport, and will see a huge price increase to $12.8bn in 2023 from 2022’s $8.8bn, and is expected to continue to take 44% of the total market
While NFL remains the biggest and is expected to retain that title well into the back half of this decade, it likely won’t see the biggest increases in the 2015-2026 forecast period:
Pro wrestling – 369%
UFC – 350%
NBA – 309%
Sports rights are coming to be seen as a safe haven for cable companies that are watching their subscribers shift. Meanwhile, big tech firms are consolidating their sporting footholds: Amazon with some NFL games, and increasingly English Premier League games, while Apple gets into Major League Baseball.
This price inflation is as much the product of necessity as greed, with the potential to hammer some legacy players as their dwindling user bases continue to shrink and those that remain are faced with ever increasing prices. It’s likely that prices will indeed continue to increase, but similarly likely that the places users go to access live sport will look very different.