Digital Rights Revenue – Key to Sports Broadcasting Success

Digital sports rights

Credit: Deltatre

As more broadcasters, digital platforms, and providers play to win these valuable sporting rights, the biggest potential lies in digital sports broadcasting. 

The current status of online sports viewing

Streaming and live sporting events have gone hand in hand for some time now. In fact, executives across the sports and media industry have been asking where many traditional sports viewers have gone as data suggest that many fans have migrated online over the past 12 months or so.

Take the NFL for example. Sunday Night Football, US TV’s highest-rated prime-time show for five years in a row, has seen a 10% drop in viewership so far this season. Cable’s hot sports property, Monday Night Football, is down 19% – the series’ slowest start in 10 years. Thursday Night Football viewership is also down by 15%.

What’s more, the Summer Olympics on NBC dwindled double digits in viewership from the London Games. That’s a big drop.

The report from Sports Business Daily also shows that 15% of sports fans have cut the cord on their television service over the past year. Another 14% haven’t yet but plan to do so shortly.

It seems that online sports viewership is on the rise. 


Now, as the numbers of online viewers grow exponentially, the time spent watching television online is growing as a proportion of time spent online. It also seems that when it comes to sports, viewership is rife across all age demographics.

Broadcasters are seeing where the biggest revenue potential lies

As the cost of digital rights for sporting events begin to rise, broadcasters and organisations alike are spotting the revenue opportunities that the selling and acquisition of these rights provide.

For example, the NFL, America’s highest grossing sports league has seen a whopping 39.8% spike from digital viewership between 2010 and 2015, now grossing around $0.3 billion per year from online revenue.


Source: Barclays’ Future of Sports report

By selling sporting rights and teaming up with online giants like Yahoo, who now air a portion of the games, the NFL is making a healthy profit from this growing trend while giving many sports fans exactly what they want – a top notch online viewing experience. And it seems to be working – now Google wants a piece of the action.

As more broadcasters, digital platforms, and providers play to win these valuable sporting rights; their value will only be driven up, leaving sporting organisations in the driving seat.

Sporting events are adrenaline-pumping, highly dramatic, heart pounding occasions which are why they’re so popular the world over – and at the moment, it seems that action on the pitch is just as exciting as the action on the pitch.

For sports fans, providers and organisations, it’s a thrilling time indeed. Don’t take your eye off the ball.

Interested in selling sports video directly to consumers? Learn more about the challenges related to going over-the-top:

  • Floridacoastdude

    As one who was in the broadcasting business for many years and indirectly, still am, I am sorry but sports broadcasting for professional sports is OK and I say “go for it!” but when it comes to the exploration of college teams both women’s and mens, It has gone too far. It is to the point that college football within itself is professional entertainment as are the basketball, softball and everything else rolled in. You now seed kids in their junior year throwing their education out the door thinking they will make it big in the NFL only to get a life long injury. I love broadcasting but never sold my soul to the big corporate suits as money is not everything. At least in my life. Let 18 and 19 year olds be the young kids they are meant to be and not dangle mulitimillion dollar contracts in front of the universities who in turn push these same kids into “performing” like circus animals so others can get line their pocketbooks.