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Broadcast, Digital & Media, Future Trends, Sport Business | Oct 30, 2020 | 8 min read

9 things you need to know today about the shifting sports media landscape

By James Emmett and David Cushnan

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Join the Media Innovators Series
DAZN’s global play comes to life
Gotham Chopra on storytelling
RDA to handle Lions broadcast rights
Mediapro misses Ligue 1 rights payment
Seven secures Beijing 2022 rights
Marc Jury to lead SuperSport
Bourne hired by ATP Media
Joshua forms new production house

 

Long form

THE BIG PICTURE

Hello everyone and thanks for clicking on the Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin, a snapshot of what’s happening – and why – in the sports broadcasting, content creation and distribution space. Good to have you with us again.

This bulletin each fortnight is all the better for your input – so please keep sending news, gossip and other nuggets of wisdom to [email protected] and [email protected].

Later today sees the launch of the Media Innovators Series, a month of knowledge-sharing and insight put together by Leaders and our colleagues at Sports Business Journal. First up is a focus on North America, featuring the likes of Nascar SVP of broadcast and innovation Brian Herbst and former Fox Sports and Hulu chief Randy Freer.

There’s much more to come throughout November, including dedicated broadcasts examining the changing sports broadcast markets in Europe, MENA and Asia. To find out more, take a look here.

One item certain to be among the talking points over the next few weeks is DAZN’s global roll-out, confirmed yesterday to begin on 1st December after a pandemic-related delay. The boxing service will launch with Luke Campbell’s matchup with Ryan Garcia, available to subscribers in over 200 territories excluding Poland. Anthony Joshua’s next fight, on 12th December will be available in all territories apart from the UK and Ireland, where promoter Matchroom Sport has an existing deal with Sky Sports.

DAZN has announced its initial monthly price point as UK£1.99 or less, as it looks to build out subscriber bases in 200 territories. Its plan includes specific targeting around specific fighters in specific markets, for example Nigerian Joshua fans, Campbell fans in the UK or Garcia fans in Mexico.

It’s the latest bold play by a streaming service that, for all the speculation around its financial position and future over the last few months, has made a habit of developing strikingly ambitious projects. For the whole industry, what happens next will be well worth watching.


 

PRODUCTION NOTES

In the Mixed Zone with… Gotham Chopra, award-winning filmmaker and co-founder of The Religion of Sports alongside Tom Brady.

How do you engage athletes and encourage them to find their angle?
Every project that I’ve ever worked on has been built on a genuine relationship and trust. Getting to know an athlete, understanding what they’re passionate about, what’s important to them – and then trusting each other to figure it out; it’s a process and it’s an art form. Storytelling is a series of choices you make. It’s not a reality show. It takes time, research – one of the things I always say to athletes I work with is ‘be mindful of what you’re saying, because there are consequences’. One of the questions I ask of any athlete I work with is, ‘why are we doing this?’ Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to work with some of the most accomplished athletes – like Tom Brady, LeBron James; they don’t need to do these things. They have the fame, the fortune, strong families etc – so why are they doing it, what do they really want to say and is it really worth it? That takes time, attention and a lot of thoughtfulness.

How do you cut through the noise and make your work stand out knowing there’s so much out there?
I think distribution is a commodity. All of us have Instagram accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, everything. We can all get our message out. So for us, where we try and focus a lot of our attention is storytelling. Storytelling is a craft and as we all know in the business, there’s thought, there’s structure, there’s conflict, there’s tension – these are things we spend a lot of time on. I work with incredible people who’ve trained in all these things. We spend a lot of time on the themes, what we want to say, what the larger intention is and that drives the type of storytelling. We are film snobs: we’re not in the business of creating reality shows and throwing a load of cameras up, and working it out in the edit. We set the bar very high for ourselves. I see the same thing with great athletes.

What did you make of The Last Dance?
Michael Jordan stands as a unicorn. The greatest basketball player in the history of the game. He also played in a time in the absence of social media so not everything he did on and off the court was chronicled. The absence of non-stop footage really benefited The Last Dance. There was a 30-year moratorium in some ways on his story. I enjoyed it, I lived through that era. As a filmmaker, I’ve all sorts of critiques of it but I also know the enormous challenges the producers faced because they were dealing with the NBA, ESPN, Netflix, Michael Jordan – one of the most protective people of all-time because of his brand. So, I really enjoyed it and I think it is a catalyst. We’re already seeing it in our business, in conversations people often ask, ‘do you have anything like The Last Dance?’ And we are like, ‘no, there is nothing like The Last Dance!’

I know for a fact – and with Tom [Brady] in particular, because I’m involved in it – that a lot of athletes have become very savvy. Tom and LeBron, and Ronaldo and Messi, and Lewis Hamilton now, Serena Williams are going to go down in history as the greatest of all-time. And I think a lot of them are savvy, a lot of them are capturing content just because we’ve seen something like The Last Dance. Having stuff in a vault for some time has a lot of value. The Last Dance had the benefit of time. That was really smart and took a lot of discipline. One of the things we all know when you’re out there capturing something, the instinct to instantly post it to get the likes, get the views is relentless. The discipline of holding back for years and decades is going to be the biggest challenge.

Gotham Chopra was speaking at LeadersWeek.direct/ earlier this month


RIGHTS WATCH

RDA to handle Lions tour rights
The new joint venture set up by the British & Irish Lions and South Africa Rugby to commercialise next year’s Lions’ tour to South Africa has hired the RDA agency to sell its global media rights. The agreement covers Canada, France, South-east Asia, Pacific Islands, MENA, inflight and cruise rights, as well as Europe, with the exception of the UK & Ireland, where Sky holds the rights, and France. Pandemic-permitting, the Lions are due to play three tests against South Africa, along with five other matches during the tour. A warm-up test against Japan in Edinburgh and two South Africa warm-up matches will also be included in the rights package. It is the first time an agency has been appointed to sell broadcast rights to a Lions tour.

Mediapro misses payment; parent downgraded
Mediapro parent company Joye Media has been listed as having a ‘negative’ outlook by Moody’s, following its failure to pay the latest instalment of its annual rights fee to Ligue 1. It is understood the Spanish company, which expanded into France by acquiring live rights to Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 in April 2018 and has launched a new channel, Telefoot, to house them, failed to make a €172 million due in early October. It is seeking to renegotiate the rights agreement. The credit rating revision reflects what Moody’s describes as a ‘very high risk’ of non-repayments.

Seven signs up for Beijing 2022
Australia’s Seven network has secured the rights to the 2022 Olympic Games. The agreement with the International Olympic Committee extends a partnership that began at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. In 2014, the broadcaster secured the rights to the Tokyo 2020 Games. The 2022 Games fall in a favourable timezone for Australia, with just two hours difference between the country’s east coast and host city Beijing.


THE JOBS BOARD

Jury takes the reins at SuperSport
Marc Jury will take over as the CEO of SuperSport, Africa’s dominant sports channel, from the start of December. He takes over from Ghideon Khobane, who has been named as group chief executive for general entertainment at MultiChoice, SuperSport’s parent company. A former Cricket South Africa executive, Jury has most recently headed up SuperSport’s rights acquisitions department.

Bourne hired by ATP Media
Former Copa90 chief commercial officer Nick Bourne has joined ATP Media as the organisation’s chief strategy officer. Bourne has been consulting with the media arm of men’s professional tennis in recent months, and will work on building out new services and capabilities around centralised data, content and platforms.


 

CONTENT/PRODUCTION

Joshua forms own production house
World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has launched his own production house, alongside PR and content company SoapBox London’s Rowan Wilkinson and Andy Bell. SBX Studios will develop and produce a range of content, including branded programming, podcasts and long-form documentaries involving Joshua as well as other athletes. Joshua, who is preparing for a return to the ring next month in London against Kubrat Pulev, has already worked with SoapBox on content for his YouTube channel. The Briton is also reportedly in talks with both Amazon and Netflix about a behind-the-scenes documentary, which would likely focus on his preparations for a possible and much-anticipated fight with Tyson Fury next year.


 

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