The Challenge: Licensing. The Opportunity: Storytelling. New Potential for the Sports Industry
The digitalization of the sports industry is ripe with potential for publishers, advertisers, and ambitious startups. Naomi Owusu, Co-founder and CEO of Tickaroo, shares her thoughts on broadcasting rights, licensing, business models, and why storytelling is crucial to the live news industry.
Rights and Licensing: The Balancing Act of Online Services
At the start of each season there is a sense of anticipation surrounding who will get to control the German Bundesliga’s live broadcasting rights. Which streaming services are permitted to show what? At what times? And which new providers have thrown their hats in the ring? It's meticulous work establishing at which minute after kickoff which photos are allowed to be published by which providers. This past year the DFL cashed in a record 4,65 billion Euros for all broadcasting rights until the end of the 2020/2021 season. With sums like these, new online services and even other sports, have a hard time competing to provide fans with a high quality live coverage. For organizations and leagues to be able to provide the highest quality of broadcasting, publishers need strong partners on their side.
This is how the online sports show sportdeutschland.tv was able to be founded in 2014 by the Olympic Sports Association. Other providers like sporttotal.tv want to highlight their high quality innovative camera technology to their users. However, the problem of higher costs for production technology is obvious: the refinancing of streams remains a challenge within the German market, whose variety in selection is limited compared to sports broadcasting in America. The professionalization of coverage consequently creates more challenges especially for amateur leagues who have higher monetary hurdles than the professional sports leagues. Readily available on-demand models appear to be the most lucrative and, frankly, the only option within the near future.
From Paid Content to Ticketing: Business Models in Germany
With the emergence of Perform Group a new player entered the field in 2016 who would be essential for fashioning the digital revolution in the German sports industry. To the British cooperation belong not only the portals of goal.com and spox.com, but also the leading streaming service DAZN. The “Netflix of Sports” secured extensive broadcasting rights for the next coming years, and has thereby become a strong competitor of Sky and other established German TV shows like Sportschau. For the end user, on the other hand, there are also free live blogs or push notification services, which some media providers have already successfully integrated into their own content strategy.
An example of this is the SPIEGEL ONLINE liveblog for this year’s winter games in Pyeongchang. Over the course of the 17 day long event, the live blog had over 34 million page impressions and more than 3 million unique visitors- a large number of these statistics had to do with the success of the German National Hockey team.
But digitalization continues to change operations in other ways as well. This is how the MeinTeam App took over the organization of teams and groups. The app simplifies processes and operations of sports clubs: from scheduling appointments including management of RSVPs, to creating links for tables and game schedules to organizing statistics and practice or game attendance. Sports-focused crowdfunding platform fairplaid also offers sports-specific financial support. The company which was founded in 2011 in Berlin has made it its goal to make a variety of sports business models a reality. A further industry that finds itself currently transforming is ticketing. The mobile ticket is no longer only the future of ticketing for concerts or flights. Providers like Ticketmaster are currently expanding their offerings of sporting events to their repertoire as well!
Growing Ad Potential: Storytelling for ROI
In Germany there are almost 100,000 clubs in which 23,81 million people share their love of sports. Saturday afternoons an average of 1,4 million people follow the Bundesliga on Sky. This market potential for new formats and mediums is huge in the German market. But investors still continue to hesitate because a Return on Investment within the first year is rare. The building up of a loyal audience, and the visits and the money that they provide, on average takes too long. However, investors are forgetting the advertising potential which is steadily growing.
The opportunity to tell stories or insights from different athletes is something that American role models have been using for years. Advertising partners and sponsors should seize the chance to position themselves as partners for a variety of sports.This often succeeds more often on the internet than in classic television. Emotions in sports are the deciding factor. If publishers offer their audiences the opportunity to get to know athletes from different sports better, they are able to create a significant benefit for a very wide target audience. The “more is more” concept from the USA should also inspire German investors and give them the courage to try these less secure avenues of reaching their audiences.