Broadcast, Digital & Media, Future Trends, Sport Business | May 14, 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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Short form

ESPN and Amazon live at LeadersWeek.direct/
What the Bundesliga’s dynamic personnel plan means for TV
Inside the New York Jets’ Draft content strategy
Korean sports leagues in rights spree
Racing TV picks up German rights
Nine and NRL reportedly close to agreement
Pakistan Cricket Board seeks media rights consultant
Garden pole vault brings in the viewers
Nine strategies for TikTok


Long form


Thanks for clicking and reading this latest edition of the Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin.

As the sports broadcast world recalibrates and continues to ready itself for the return of live sport, we’re looking forward to having you with us next week for LeadersWeek.direct/, a week of industry connection with a daily 3-hour interactive broadcast at its core.

We’ll be joined throughout the week by senior figures from across the industry, including a couple of the sports broadcasting world’s leading players. Amazon’s Vice President of Global Sports Video Marie Donoghue is one and she’ll be lifting the lid on its debut as a Premier League broadcaster and the company’s growing portfolio of rights.

Donoghue is a former ESPN executive and is therefore well-versed in the company’s original documentary vertical. As The Last Dance continues to receive rave reviews – albeit peppered with the odd question or two about editorial control – we’ll also be joined by one of its Executive Producers, Libby Geist, who’ll be discussing how the ESPN series came together, why it’s resonated and what it says about the power of longer-form sports storytelling.

There are also the CEOs of Borussia Dortmund and Ajax, Patrick Mahomes’ agent, the head of Qatar 2022’s organising committee, the owner of the Chicago Cubs and a couple of Commissioners, Gary Bettman of the NHL and Major League Soccer’s Don Garber, among many others. The implications of the current crisis on sports broadcasting and content creation are certain to be high on the agenda.

To find out more and secure your spot for Leaders Week Direct, take a look here. And do keep all your correspondence coming to [email protected] and [email protected], or by posting on our Broadcast Disruptors Guild group – let us know if you’d like to be considered for access.


The Bundesliga returns amid great fanfare this weekend, the first major European league to resume following the coronavirus outbreak. As part of detailed preparations designed to limit the number of people in and around the stadium for games, the DFL has pieced together a ‘dynamic personnel plan’. Of the total 322 people required to stage a match safely, these are the number of media and TV personnel allowed to be pitchside, inside the stadium or just outside.

Source: DFL



In the mixed zone with… Chris Gargano, VP and Executive Producer at the New York Jets, who oversaw the franchise’s content output around this month’s NFL Draft, which for the first time was a virtual event.

How do you reflect on the Jets’ content output during the NFL Draft?
As I look back, I’m as proud as can be. From a technical standpoint, I want to make improvements but I’m proud we adjusted to the in-home workflow and continued and enhanced our collaboration – because we had to. I was very pleased with how it all came out – I will watch it back, take notes as a coach would during a game, and get some great learnings about what we did over that weekend.

From the moment the league decided to go ahead with a virtual version of the Draft, what became your team’s objectives and priorities?
We take the Draft very seriously. Prior to Covid-19 we had been in the last planning stages for parties – real parties – where we’d engage our fanbase in and around Jets Nation. When this all went down and the league said it was going to a virtual Draft, we started to morph our plans into that same premise. How can we engage our fans virtually? We migrated those plans into a very detailed virtual party. We took concepts and translated them into this world. We did a virtual party that we think came off quite well. It allowed us to present content relevant to the die-hard fans, relevant to the people we want to come aboard and everyone in between – interviews, football analysis, using current players. I hope our fans enjoyed that, they seemed to. We had three live shows – Thursday night before the Draft, after we made our first round pick, and then we did a pre-Draft show the following day – and then dozens of interviews with our Draft picks, our coaches and analysts. And at 8pm, we gave it away to the league and let them do what they did quite well. 

What was the process like?
We tried a bunch of platforms. The folks on the content team, engineers, our IT department, operations, producers – people spread right across the organisation – tried out half a dozen or more platforms to see which worked for what we tried to accomplish. We landed on a virtual studio company called StreamYard; they have been unbelievable – supportive and innovative.

How were you able to integrate commercial partners into your content around the Draft?
We worked very closely with our partnership group and we’re fortunate to have a lot of great partners. In moving into the virtual world, we had to tap into all of our creativity – the Jets’ and the clients’ – and talk about it. We had people on my team and the partnerships side, looking at seven or eight key sponsors of the Draft and worked out how we could give them the value in the virtual Draft that we’d mutually agreed to. I think we did a commendable job of integrating them and hopefully everyone’s happy. It seems to be that the sponsors were happy and we’re happy with how we featured their content.

For the full interview with Chris Gargano and many more executives from around the world of sport, check out the Leaders Sport Business Podcast episode archive.



Korean domestic leagues take advantage of resumption
As the K-League, South Korea’s top football league, resumed last week, Sportradar, which holds the international sales rights to the competition, confirmed new rights agreements in Australia, Germany, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Optus has taken the rights in Australia, while Sportdigital Fussball has acquired the German rights. The first game of the new season was also made available for free on YouTube and Twitter around the world, with a reported 3.4 million viewers tuning in on the latter platform. Other deals have been struck with the likes of Copa90 in the UK and Laola.TV. Meanwhile, as Korea became one of the first markets to resume live sports, ESPN has secured exclusive US rights to regular seasons games from Korea’s top baseball league, the KBO.

Live racing returns in Germany
Racing TV has begun broadcasting race meetings from Germany, after the country resumed staging live events. The broadcast deal was agreed between Racecourse Media Group and Deutscher Galopp.

Nine and NRL reach agreement as Foxtel set to invest
Reports in the Australian media suggest Nine Entertainment is close to confirming a revised three-year rights partnership with the National Rugby League (NRL). Nine is understood to have negotiated a significant discount, which would come after a period of sometimes fractious talks, for the remaining three years of its current broadcast contract, with some indications suggesting it has worked a 20 per cent saving. The reports emerged as the NRL is preparing to unveil a new broadcast contract, with pay TV broadcaster Foxtel close to a AUS$200 million per year deal potentially until 2027. That AUS$1.6 billion total will be supplemented by a new free-to-air deal once Nine’s remaining three years are up.

Pakistan Cricket Board seeks rights consultant
Today was the deadline for the tender launched by the Pakistan Cricket Board to find a new media rights sales consultant. The tender document said the consultant would be working on sales for Pakistan home games between now and 2023. The PCB is challenged by the continuing ban on games with India, due to diplomatic tensions between the two nations.



Garden pole vault gains an audience for World Athletics
World Athletics has reported that over a million people from 90 countries watched its ‘Ultimate Garden Clash’ earlier this month, featuring three of the world’s best pole vaulters competing from their gardens. The governing body added that 250,000 people tuned in live for the hour-long competition and that is working on other similar competitions featuring top athletes competing at home.

TikTok’s time
With, according to Morning Consult, some 74 per cent of all social media users between 13 and 21 in the US using it, TikTok is increasingly becoming a platform of choice for sports leagues and teams. Our Broadcast Disruptors Series partner Greenfly has pieced together and published nine strategies – and a host of examples – for building your presence and profile on the app.

Fox turns to drones as Nascar returns
Nascar blasts back into action this weekend with a race behind closed doors at Darlington. While the Fox Sports broadcast crew of Mike Joy and four-time champion Jeff Gordon will call the race from Fox’s studios, the broadcaster is preparing some new features for its coverage. It is believed to be upping its use of drone cameras, an option made viable by the lack of fans in the grandstand. Fox Sports has utilised drone cameras, specifically racing drones capable of speeds up to 85 mph, to follow the action at the blue riband Daytona 500 for the past few years.   



Virgin Media and O2 join forces in the UK
Last week’s announcement that Liberty Global’s Virgin Media will merge with Telefonica’s O2 changes the UK telecommunications landscape. In particular, the combination of Virgin Media’s broadband and entertainment content, and O2’s mobile business appears to raise the pressure on BT at a time when the company is undergoing a major digital transformation. The deal has been valued at UK£31.4 billion (US$38.9 billion) and is expected to close midway through next year. 


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