Broadcast, Digital & Media, Future Trends, Sport Business | Apr 16, 2020 | 8 min read

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

By James Emmett and David Cushnan

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When and how to pay up
China’s lockdown TV habits revealed
The NFL heads to Nickelodeon
DAZN scoops DACH WWE rights
Inter Miami secures local broadcast deal
ICC hints at unbundling women’s rights
Lagardere Sports sells dog sled racing to CBS
Mycujoo now streaming Tajikistan Higher League
Bruin calls a halt to Deltatre sale
Hannah Brown joins Formula E
SNTV to shut US operation


Long form


Hello from us and this latest edition of the Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin. Hope you and yours are keeping well, staying positive and being safe.

Around the world, leagues, teams and tournament organisers are scrabbling to try and salvage seasons, reschedule postponed events or mitigate the impact of having to cancel events altogether.

The knock-on effect for rights-holding broadcasters is obvious: with no live sport, no advertising revenue and in many cases paused or deferred subscriptions now in place, many a financial plan and business model are being reworked. Or, more accurately, reworked as far as possible when there is no resolution yet in sight.

And inevitably that means the thorny question of when and how to pay – or not pay – owed rights fees is very much on the table across the sector. At a time when there’s no product, relationships will be sternly tested as broadcasters start to delay payments while trying to retain strong and close bonds with rights holder partners.

How much leeway can leagues and event organisers allow, when in many cases their main source of funding – critical in some cases to keeping staff aboard and to protect grassroots-to-professional structures – comes from broadcast partners? And any change in the way the money is flowing through the sports broadcast ecosystem has potentially profound impacts on the myriad suppliers and service providers needed to get sport to the masses in the modern world.

DAZN, Globo, TF1, IMG, Canal+, BeIN Sports are just a handful of the major organisations who have been reported to be delaying or deferring payments for rights they have previously acquired. There are assuredly many more behind the scenes, no doubt preceded or followed by difficult conversations.

It’s a time for compromise, carefully managed relationships and sensitivity across the piece, even while the lawyers are poring over the fineprint. What the broadcast market looks like at the end of all this relies on it.

Thanks to everyone who has joined us so far on one of our Broadcast Disrupted Zoom calls, where we’re sharing perspectives, raising challenges and at least beginning the process of finding solutions. Get in touch if you’d like to know more about joining this community, or with any tips, news, views, questions or feedback. We’re on [email protected] and [email protected].



A new Nielsen report has revealed the change in TV viewership behaviour in China following the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown conditions across the country. Average TV viewership has grown by 70 minutes to 7 hours and 40 minutes among current TV viewers, while news and drama programming have experienced the biggest rise in viewership. Youth programming, TV shopping, and finance and economic programming have seen the biggest dips. Somehow sports programming appears to have experienced a small rise in viewership.

Source: CCdata and Nielsen



NFL on Nickelodeon 
According to our colleagues at Sports Business Daily, CBS has committed around US$70 million to broadcast an additional NFL playoff game from next season, following the league’s announcement it is to expand its postseason and add two teams to the process. NBC is understood to be paying a little more to broadcast the other extra game created by the format change, which will be broadcast in prime time on Sunday 10th January and also carried by the network’s new Peacock streaming service and Telemundo. Most intriguingly, the CBS coverage will also include a ‘separately produced telecast’ of the game on Nickelodeon, ‘tailored for a younger audience’.

DAZN scoops DACH WWE rights
DAZN has agreed a multi-year deal to broadcast WWE via its German, Austrian and Swiss services. The deal, which begins immediately, will see DAZN broadcast key WWE shows Raw and SmackDown 52 weeks a year, as well as a variety of other programming. WWE has continued with its events during the current Covid-19 pandemic, broadcasting from behind closed doors. It is pushing ahead with this weekend’s Wrestlemania 36 on that basis, after switching venues from Tampa Bay’s 65,000 Raymond James Stadium to a training centre in Orlando. That event will be broadcast exclusively in Germany by WWE Network, while the DAZN deal does not impact ProSieben MAXX’s free-to-air WWE coverage in the country.

Inter Miami lines up local broadcaster
Inter Miami FC, the Major League Soccer club part-owned by David Beckham, has named CBS Miami as its local English-language television partner. Pending the resumption of MLS, several Inter Miami games will be broadcast in prime-time on CBS’s MyTV33 channel, with others broadcast on CBS4. MLS has not confirmed when and how the league will resume.

ICC hints at women’s rights unbundling
International Cricket Council Chief Executive Manu Sawhney’s suggestion that the organisation may soon unbundle the rights to major women’s cricket competitions, for its 2023-2031 sales cycle comes as little surprise after a hugely successful Women’s T20 World Cup at the start of the year. February’s tournament achieved 1.1 billion total video views, over 20 times more than the previous tournament in 2018. In India alone, viewing minutes reached 5.4 billion during the competition. Sawhney told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that “there is a clear opportunity here for the sport and we are currently exploring various options to optimise value generation including the unbundling of women’s rights”.

Every dog has its day
Creative short-term rights agreements are being put in place across the board in a bid to help broadcast networks plug the gap that live sport has left. In the UK, the virtual Grand National in horse racing attracted an astounding 4.8 million viewers on free-to-air channel ITV this weekend gone, while this upcoming weekend will see CBS Sports Network air archive coverage of the four premier international dog sled races that make up the QRILL Pet Arctic World Series after signing a deal with rights distributor Lagardere Sports.



Mycujoo to stream Tajikistan top league
Streaming platform Mycujoo has agreed a deal with the Tajikistan Football Federation to produce and live stream a majority of the 2020 Tajikistan Higher League season. The agreement builds on an existing relationship which began in 2018, with the expansion in coverage due to the Tajikistan league being one of the only football competitions in the world still underway. MyCujoo is also working with Genius Sports to develop ways to monetise the Tajikistan Higher League.

Bruin calls off Deltatre sale
Bruin Sports Capital has halted its plan to sell Deltatre as a result of continuing market uncertainty, according to a Bloomberg report. Bruin holds a controlling 75 per cent stake in the streaming specialists, having paid around US$160 million in 2016. Late last year Bruin, founded by former IMG executive George Pyne, appointed investment advisory Evercore to oversee the sale, with Bloomberg reporting a potential valuation of around US$1 billion or more. Now, however, Bruin is expected to continue to build Deltatre’s capabilities and market share.



Hannah Brown joins Formula E
Hannah Brown, Chief Strategy Officer at US streaming service FuboTV until last month, has been appointed as Formula E’s new Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer. Brown left Fubo prior to its recent merger with FaceBank Group.



SNTV switches focus as US office shuts
SNTV, the joint venture between IMG and the Associated Press, has shut down its US operation, according to SportBusiness. Existing work will be switched to the company’s offices in Asia and Europe.


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