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Sports rights to continue decline post-pandemic

Sports rights prices are set to continue to fall in value in a post-pandemic world, a new report predicts.

According to new research from Ampere, the “tough time” of sports rights holders “isn’t over yet” as broadcasters and operators continue to battle declining ad revenue and cord-cutting.

The report notes that the rise of online figures and a lack of competition has led to a number of sports leagues rights deals falling in value. It specifically cites the collapsed Ligue 1 deal with Mediapro in France, and a lack of competition in Germany’s most recent rights tender.

The report says that while streaming players like Amazon are interested in the sports market, they do not represent a substitute for income from the national broadcasters and pay TV operators like Sky Sports.

Ampere however says that there is a ‘silver lining’ in that “sport remains one of the few rights not subject to pullback by rights owners and pay TV operators cannot afford to lose key events to OTT challengers on top of the TV and film rights they have already ceded.”

Ben McMurray, Analyst at Ampere Analysis, said: “While innovation and compensation best described the evolving sports market in 2020, the long-term impact of the pandemic will be characterised by two themes; market declines and changing viewer behaviours.”