Is Live Sports Consumption Shifting to Digital Video?

Despite the fact that two of the NFL’s offensive powerhouses only managed to score a combined 16 points and this year’s ratings dropped by 5% from last year’s Patriots-Eagles game, the Super Bowl continues to be one of the most coveted tent-pole events for video advertisers. But it’s not just the Super Bowl. In general, live sports remain one of linear TV’s most attractive sells to advertisers.

This has been true for decades, but how has the evolving digital ecosystem affected live sporting events? According to eMarketer, US cord-cutters will increase to 55.1 million in 2022, from 33.0 million in 2018. Let’s be honest, consumers may be cutting the cord, but there’s no way they’re cutting sports out of their lives and marketers know it.

In the next three to five years, worldwide revenues from sports digital media rights will grow by 11.5%, faster than any other business area. By contrast, traditional TV rights will see the slowest growth at 3.2%.

Similar to what we’re seeing with other forms of content and live entertainment, as viewers shift to video, marketers and advertisers are adapting to the changes and taking advantage of the opportunities that digital video provides. What are those additional benefits you ask? Unique audience targeting, interactivity, personalization and advanced creative, just to name a few. Advertisers can have a 1:1 conversation with fans. Not to mention video’s reach of Millennials who continue to rapidly shift away from television.

Each of the “big four” sports (football, baseball, basketball, and hockey) provide viewers with digital alternatives to cable and, given its growing popularity, soccer enthusiasts have access to streaming video from leagues all across the world. These options also allow fans to watch their favorite clubs, even when they’ve moved away from home.

So, while live sports are still a critical component to the survival of linear TV, all indications suggest digital sports packages are the wave of the future. Don’t be surprised when the host of your next Super Bowl party streams the game via digital video—if it hasn’t happened already.

-Frank Pasquine, Content Manager at Tremor Video DSP