Sports Broadcasting - the Future?

SL Logo LargeOver the last couple of years Britain has truly put itself on the map for hosting spectacular sporting events, and with that has come intensive coverage as major sporting events are getting a huge share of the national TV coverage. The way spectators view their favourite sports are changing dramatically, however, can the broadcasting of sport change to keep up with such demands?

The BBC provided home viewers almost round-the-clock coverage of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games earlier in the summer, as did London 2012, The FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League and the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup in the future. 

The same might not be said for the vast range of other ‘minority’ sports such as Table Tennis, Shooting, Bowls and Field Hockey however, as while they have been represented and covered during the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics, typically after a major event the competitors won’t be seen on such a scale until the next big competition. Their future coverage is uncertain, depending instead on minimal TV coverage and their sponsors for survival. 

There are major flaws with this formula however, as it is the norm for sports governing bodies to view broadcast opportunities as the sole way of attracting those needed to keep the game alive – fans, players, sponsors and advertisers. The rapidly developing world of multi-screen access to content means this won’t be the way things are done for much longer. 

Consumers now engage in their sport using a variety of devices, and on multiple channels, so thanks to the dramatically changing relationship between sports broadcasters and owners of rights, only those governing bodies with a strong digital strategy will be able to survive. 

Missing out on lucrative sponsorship and advertising deals is now unfortunately a common occurrence for international federations, possibly because they don’t have the foresight, opportunity or the means to take their sport into the new digital age. Alternatively they sell off the broadcasting rights to third parties for minimal fees or even given away for free. Federations are also guilty of missing out on new revenue streams because they have sold all rights to an event, rather than creating unique packages to be agreed upon.

It is imperative that International Sports Federations, National Governing Bodies and high profile professional clubs put in place a digital strategy to avoid financial disasters like this, particularly if they want to compete on a global stage for traditional broadcast and new digital media rights deals. The result of ignoring the emerging yet imperative digital strategy is likely to be that the sport will be all too easily pushed out of the public eye as new sports raise in popularity thanks to a solid media deal and are able to broadcast their own rights and content to a connected global audience.

Destination sites should not be where the content is placed but as the Federation is the holder of rights, it should be the broadcaster, and the go-to place for fans to catch the latest action, connect with other fans, and interact with sponsors and view extra content.

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Skylab - Boutique and Expert in Sport Digital Strategy & Production

Selected relevant background info:

T.E.A.M. Marketing TV Programmes Manager  2001 - 2002 (all 79 live UEFA Champions League matches per season)

Broadcast Production Manager - 2004 Athens Olympics.

Host broadcaster consultant at two FIFA World Cups and two UEFA European Championships

Additional information