Sports Content Revenue Soars, Scores

Sports have become a natural match for the Internet, combining immediate stats and scores with compelling real-time content, and adding a viable revenue stream to providers. A collaborative report from Screen Digest and ArkSports Limited indicates that there will be more than 113 million sports broadband users globally by the end of 2005 — surging to more than 309 million by the end of 2008 — and resulting in $6.4 billion in revenue by the end of 2008.

The U.S., China, Japan, Germany and South Korea are expected to lead the sports broadband services market to over $344 million by the end of 2002.

“The take-up of broadband is gathering momentum in major markets with service providers cutting costs and governments pushing through improvements in infrastructure. Sport provides compelling content for broadband services and therefore broadcasters with access to sport will find that offering additional coverage through broadband channels will be an attractive new revenue stream,” said Rachael Church, managing director of ArkSports Limited.

The report finds that sports fans will pay for content only if it is not readily available elsewhere and the price is reasonable. A profile of the interactive sports fan reveals an individual who has more leisure time than the non-sports fan, higher disposable income, and is more likely to spend money online. The interactive sports fan has been identified as someone who is likely to own more mobile phones, interactive TVs and Internet appliances than non-sports fans.

Jupiter Research (a unit of this site’s corporate parent) identifies online ticketing of sporting events to be a big money-maker in the U.S., almost tripling from $450 million in 2002 to $1.2 billion in 2007. Paid sports digital content will also triple, but will remain on a much smaller scale, growing to $106 million from $37 million in 2002. Jupiter expects the U.S. online entertainment segment — sports, games, filmed entertainment, and music — to reach a total of $15.7 billion by 2007.

U.S. Online Sports Revenue, 2002-2007
  Ticketing Digital Total
2002 $450m $37m $487m
2003 $591m $50m $641m
2004 $743m $64m $807m
2005 $902m $78m $979m
2006 $1.060b $92m $1.151b
2007 $1.218b $106b $1.324b
Source: Jupiter Research

Jupiter found that U.S. Internet users are more willing to pay for fantasy leagues than traditional sports content — such as news and clips — and a large opportunity exists for deep warehouses of statistics, analysis, and predictions to assist users in forming fantasy teams and making sports bets.

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