Needless to say, UEFA declined. UEFA cannot be seen giving away rights for free when it has a premium product for which other broadcast partners pay substantial sums.
Consumption trends — insights from the McKinsey report The Premier League rights sale — failure or success?
Those trying to suggest that this was a major catastrophe for the Premier League and for the wider sports rights market in general, gleefully pointed to the topline results from the tender process. However, a deeper look at the situation suggests that in fact, the outcome of the tender was still an outstanding success for the Premier League.
Second, and probably most importantly, to the extent there has been a decrease in aggregate fees from the previous cycle, there are several factors that have influenced this. While competition still existed this time around, it was somewhat less intense.
Possibly even more critically, back in December , Sky and BT reached agreement on a carriage arrangement which had been years in the making 6. By agreeing to terms which would enable each service to carry channels from the other, it meant that customers could access all Premier League matches from the one provider and thus not likely end up having to choose between one or the other.
Thus, some of the competitive tension from the previous cycle had diminished.
This was despite a substantial amount of attention being given to interest from both Amazon and Facebook in the lead up to bids being due 7.
Nonetheless, there is still the potential for them to play a part this time around given that two unsold packages remain available featuring twenty matches each being two full rounds of matches each on a single day 8.
With the need to facilitate delivery of so many matches simultaneously, it is almost inevitable that these packages will end up with a digital-focused distributor.
However, just because those organisations have the capacity to deliver content in that manner, does not mean that the packages represent a particularly attractive proposition, as reflected by the fact that bids for these packages did not meet the reserve price during the original tender process 9.
Given the limitations of the packages, who buys them and what they do with the rights though is likely to be merely interesting, rather than particularly illuminating regarding future intentions or highly instructive as to consumer preferences and appetite for OTT-delivered content experiences.
Those rights have remained non-exclusive 10 , with linear broadcasts still available on NBC and CBS who alternate games and were still entitled to make available an online stream of the games and via mobile for Verizon subscribers.
Thus, only so much can be read into the levels of viewership. There are a few takeaways worth noting though.
This capacity is particularly advantageous in countries with a large diversity of languages 12 or else, for sports trying to develop in a new market. It is not hard to foresee NFL coverage in future having an audio feed geared towards fans still learning the game.
It is interesting to note that the NBA have taken a step forward in delivering a customized experience through an innovative relationship with Twitch a platform more noted for streaming e-sports.
For example, reports suggested that as part of packages for their NFL games, advertising partners could be provided with custom research detailing how viewers reacted to certain ads and whether such advertising activity led to a transaction on the Amazon site.
This is before considering the revenue possibilities of exploiting sports rights by delivering highly targeted and valuable advertising via dynamic ad insertion or the flow on effects of increased retail transactional activity whether linked to the league, the sport, individual advertisers or otherwise.
It all adds up to Amazon likely being a key player in the premium sports rights market in years to come. It launched a bid for Indian Premier League cricket rights in mid, with its USD million proposal a significant statement of intent Meanwhile, its re-jigged arrangements with the World Surf League , announced in January , signaled a desire to have more sports content featured exclusively on the platform rather than as a supplementary media proposition Two recent developments however have been of particular note.
Developing the consumer experience Other than the variety of audio feeds and some integrated statistics presentations though, we are still yet to see any of the social platforms or any other digital provider for that matter deliver a consumption experience that is drastically different from watching a traditional live sports broadcast.
We have, however, seen some tentative steps to innovate in the on-screen presentation of content across the last twelve months.
Given some positive feedback, NBC subsequently experimented with using that view as the primary position for a further game in November of this season It did show up some limitations in the approach in particular for long passes downfield — often the most spectacular plays of the game but on the other hand, it provided what was at times an optimal perspective for running plays.
Regardless of the success of this specific initiative, it is a positive development to see production teams taking a step back and re-imagining how vision should be presented on screen, particularly as technological developments mean that we are less and less bound by the limitations of where weighty, immobile camera equipment can be placed.
It is almost inevitable that as drone technology develops in terms of on-board camera quality and battery capacity, there will be certain sports whose presentation perspectives will look very different than they do today.
For others, production costs will be cut — the need to install at great expense tracking cameras on rails to follow the m sprint or a moguls skier may disappear where a drone camera can do the same job for a fraction of the price.
Mobile content presentation There is still, however, somewhat of a lag in the development and production of content which is optimized for viewing on a mobile device. It is one of the strange quirks of the sports media world that a significant amount of resource and attention is devoted to virtual and augmented reality opportunities, but very little to optimization of mobile content presentation.
No doubt VR and AR technologies are likely at some point to completely revolutionise how we consume live sport, and even now they are already making an impact. Until then though, around 5 billion people across the planet are expected to possess a smartphone by 22 and many have a desire to watch sports content on that device.
However, the presentation of live and highlights content in a mobile-friendly manner is, aside from the NBA who have innovated in this area for several years, relatively limited. This feels like a missed opportunity and one that is worthy of more urgent attention.
This would have the dual advantage of catering to the preferred way of holding a mobile device and also present a picture far more capable of focusing on the key area of play e.
For most sports, even making available a mobile-optimised feed with less graphics creating screen clutter and thus, maximizing the space for vision of the actual play during action sequences, would be an excellent start.
The fluorescent pink ball used in those matches is infinitely easier to pick up on a small screen than the traditional red ball or even the white ball used in limited overs games!
This was notable for a few reasons over and above NBC making live coverage available via a social media platform.
Second and more relevant for this discussion, Snapchat took the live horizontal broadcast feed from NBC and turned it into a vertical video for presentation within the app, negating the need to film and deliver a separate vertical oriented feed.
Perhaps this new technology, combined with YouTube updating its app in late to play vertical videos in full screen 24 rather than within a horizontal box , may mean that becomes the year when vertical video goes mainstream. Consumption trends — the McKinsey report Notwithstanding some of slow adoption of mobile focused approaches though, thanks to an extremely insightful bit of research from McKinsey which was published during the year, some of the prevailing myths — particularly around the consumption of sport by young persons — were either dispelled or at least moved from a position of relatively superficial analysis Furthermore, fans following players and teams via social media platforms are twice as likely to subscribe to such a service as people who do not.
Given one of the key themes from the introductory notes last year was that we still have a relatively simplified understanding of content consumption and that it was likely that a lot of our assumptions about what content was attractive to people in specific situations were flawed, having an analysis which considered some of these points in a sophisticated way was a positive step forward.
An original and thought provoking read. Yes, you. Titans on Thursday changes the game', sportingnews. Oxh0m4PSaqz 25 'We are wrong about millennial sports fans', mckinsey. Views