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May 18, 2015

How Can Sports Event Owners and Rights Holders Generate New Revenue Streams from Digital Content

by Pete Burns

Digital content creation and production for sports events is a prime opportunity for event owners and rights holders to reach and engage with audiences directly.

In the past, digital content rights were bundled with broadcast deals; and if shown at all, digital coverage was merely a live stream of a broadcast feed. As Bob Dylan said, “The times, they are a changin!”.

How Can Sports Event Owners and Rights Holders Generate New Revenue Streams

Meeting demand with engaging content

Today’s audiences demand more content to satisfy their desire for sports content. Price Waterhouse Coopers project that the value of sports media rights worldwide will increase from $29.2 billion in 2010 to $35.2 billion in 2015. Excluding major events, growth for ongoing events would be at 6.6% on a compound annual basis.

The demand is certainly there, as we’ve seen with the Premier Leagues domestic broadcasters renewing at an increase of 70% from the previous deal. For The Open Championship, a move from free-to-air to pay-TV has a rumored 100% increase on their domestic broadcast rights.

The challenge I see is to meet that demand with content that:

  • Engages the existing audience – to strengthen the relationship between the sport and its fans; while
  • Looking ahead to the fans of tomorrow (reaching new audiences), by spreading into new demographics or new geographies.

Event owners should be focusing on 6 key elements that will help them meet those demands:

  • Increase quality of production – 4K, additional angles, enhanced graphics & presentation
  • Produce more engaging and unique content for audiences – access to additional content and creating more unseen moments
  • Gather and present more data – innovation in data collection to bring to life the story of an event unfolding and educate audiences on the demands and levels achieved in elite sport
  • Increase audience reach of events – syndication and distribution of content
  • Provide standardisation of components – delivering components that make it easier for broadcasters and rights holders to deliver content at a lower cost
  • Adapt the actual sport to respond to demographics and new audiences – introducing new formats and adaptations to reach new audiences

Within content creation, and specifically that of digital content, event owners need to take ownership and create content that is of interest to their audience and ensure that they can maintain control of the brand and product as it disseminates through distribution channels.

The challenge with creating additional content on top of a typical unilateral coverage is the potential for increased costs without a guarantee of linear revenue.

Generating new, profitable revenue streams

I’ve worked with cloud technology for the last 10-years. I have seen it evolve: both in its infrastructure nature e.g. security, cost etc. and also its flexibility to deliver more advanced, complex services to clients.

My recent presentation at SVG SportTech Europe, held at Old Trafford home to Manchester United FC (a challenge in itself for an Arsenal fan like me!), highlighted the work we are doing at deltatre within the cloud; enabling event owners and rights holders to meet the demand of creating new, engaging digital content, delivering additional revenue streams; but without the linear costs involved.

The key is to have available flexible technology components that can augment existing production workflows, leveraging content already captured, currently not making it into a world feed.

Here’s how I think both event owners and rights holders can do it:

  • Pull your video content and event data together and using searchable metadata to find the content needed – using the cloud, storage is scalable and available for as long as you need it, reducing CAPEX of on-site storage and staff
  • Have the ability to position staff globally where it makes most economic sense, on venue is probably not the place, but communication and speed of delivery is important. Using the cloud to access content remotely via a browser can enable your team to be positioned anywhere!
  • Create rich, high value content, integrating graphics and commentary/reportage where required. You’ll need tools that are professional and able to deliver industry standard functionality.
  • Consider delivery and syndication – distribution of that content in the format required by your rights holders, with the analytics to integrate back into the work process, to create the most compelling content for a global audience.


About the author

Pete Burns
Commercial Manager (UK)

After graduating in computer science I joined a technology company (Forbidden Technologies) focused on cloud based video workflows. I worked on product, project management and business development before joining deltatre in 2010.

I work closely with many of our Federation and Broadcast clients, including European PGA, Sky Sports, and BBC Future Media where I oversaw all digital projects for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

I am responsible for the commercial strategy of our video-based products and services, working closely with our product teams.

I am married with two children and enjoy running, football, judo and supporting Arsenal FC!

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