Sports and data have a long history. The two neatly dovetail together to produce insights that spectators often rely on. But it’s not just fans that use data to get an accurate picture of successful outcomes. Data plays an increasingly important role in sports rights too. 

As sports clubs, leagues, event organisers, and IP-rich holding companies look for new and lucrative revenue streams, having an accurate picture of their data can help business leaders to better negotiate the complex field of sports rights with all kinds of licensees: including traditional and new media owners.


Big business: A complex landscape

The advent of pay-per-view TV and sport channel subscriptions have securely positioned broadcasting rights as the biggest money spinner – particularly in football, where a media outlet can pay millions (at least in the UK) to show a single Premier League match. 

According to research, the value of sports broadcasting rights has increased tenfold in the last 30 years. However, rights don’t just apply to broadcasting. They relate to everything from merchandising to technology.

Given the pace at which the media landscape continues to shift, there can be no doubt that an already complex, fragmented, and competitive area of commerce will continue to become even more problematic.

The knock-on effect here could well be that rights holders get left behind; potentially missing licensing opportunities – at a time when revenue streams need to be maximised.


Data drives smarter negotiations

Sports franchising has brought rights and licensing into the boardroom – front and centre. There’s a lot of competition. Companies that were traditionally broadcasters have evolved to become multichannel media owners. 

Equally, many businesses that started as media owners (or hardware manufacturers or even telcos for that matter) now have access to a myriad of platforms. As a result, rights may be sold or licensed to many markets locally, nationally, and globally – and are further reaching than ever before.

As leaders are only too acutely aware, maintaining tight ownership of rights whilst monetising access, relies on a deft balance of speed and certainty. Understanding the broader landscape itself is one thing – but anticipating the needs of fans and having the confidence to do what’s right by them requires a thorough understanding of what their wants and needs are. 

In short, successful negotiations rely on rights owners being data-driven in their decision-making. 


Doing what’s right

Sports fans are a loyal community– supporting their teams through thick and thin. They’re an audience that demands more; that wants access and information. 

They’re also open to innovation. Technology is able to make good on these and deliver the experience fans want and drive new and profitable revenue, branding, and partnership opportunities.

Rights holders can’t afford to be complacent – especially over the next few years when they’ll continue to recuperate from a prolonged downturn. This is why the decisions they make need to be data-driven; they should optimise insight and prioritise engagement. 

It’s not just about being fan-led; the correct deployment of broadcast and merchandising rights relies on leaders having a holistic understanding of data across channels, media, and revenue. 

On-demand access to this granular level of insight won’t just drive rights decisions – it’ll underpin business strategy. This will help ensure that when negotiating with licensees and partners, rights owners are able to create a competitive advantage. 

It’s not just about remaining profitable – the revenues from right negotiations are used to support sport at a grassroots level, to raise awareness of sport for all, and to give fans the best customer experience possible, across all channels and outlets.

Ready to take control of your rights? Now’s the time to tap into some serious revenue streams – the kind that can set sports brands up in the right way for a more profitable future.


Take a read of the The Transformation Playbook to learn how to change mindsets, connect silos, and centre around your customer.