Conrad Wiacek, Head of Sport Analysis at GloblaData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the state of the media rights market:
“COVID-19 has hit all aspects of the economy, including broadcasters, but news of the NFL signing a new 11-year US$100bn rights package in the US highlights the fact that sports rights may be COVID-proof.
“With audiences dropping year-on-year, the expectation was that the NFL may struggle to match its previous rights fee whereas in fact the NFL has doubled its previous rights agreement. This highlights that live sports still attract a premium price. While audience numbers are falling, the last Super Bowl played in February still attracted an audience of 96.4 million people.
“While this is good news for the NFL, team owners, players and fans, it will have other rights holders thinking positively about their own rights renewals. The English Premier League has the richest rights package in soccer and having seen the Bundesliga rights fees fall last year at the start of the pandemic, the reasonable expectation was that there may be a slight decrease in their own rights package next year.
“However, with the US networks betting on the NFL as a means of keeping audiences glued to their screens and the NHL also recently increasing its rights fees, it is evident that live sport is still hugely valuable to broadcasters and that it is still willing to pay a premium to secure the rights and the audience those rights bring with them.”