The relationship between sports events and broadcasters is changing.
On January 18th, a number of American sports people revealed to the media that the NFL (National Football League) is considering a minority investment in ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Television Network).
If NFL finally shares in ESPN, it will be an important change for ESPN in media copyright negotiation.
In the past, broadcasters generally obtained media rights directly through purchase. Now, perhaps in order to reduce the purchase cost, ESPN is acquiring the rights of NFL events at a lower price through a new form of minority equity swap.
Many people in the industry regard it as a sign that broadcasters have made concessions and that competitors have gained more say in media copyright. At least in the pricing negotiation of the next copyright cycle, the league parties with platform copyright will have more chips in their hands.
Traditional sports broadcasters have indeed gradually declined in recent years.
back onThe company’s ESPN is the largest cable TV sports channel in the world. Since its launch in 1979, it has held the resources of top-level sports events such as NFL and NBA for a long time, and can provide sports news content and sports broadcast for the audience 24 hours a day.
However, in the last decade, traditional sports TV has been severely impacted by short videos and social media platforms.
(Source: Interface News/Fan Jianlei)
According to the "2023 Sports Fans Insight Report" released by Deloitte, 90% of Z-generation viewers prefer to watch sports events by using short videos and social media. Due to the fragmentation of life time, these young viewers did not watch live TV or online games for a long time, but chose to watch wonderful highlights after the game, interviews with athletes and social media dynamics of athletes and events.
The reduction of audience means the reduction of ratings, which will directly affect the advertising investment of broadcasters.
The financial report of ESPN’s parent company in fiscal year 2023 shows that in fiscal year 2023, its revenue was 88.898 billion US dollars (equivalent to 643.8 billion yuan), a year-on-year increase of 7%. butIt dropped by 25% year-on-year to $2.354 billion, and its profitability dropped significantly. In terms of sectors, the revenue of sports business was $17.111 billion, which was lower than that of entertainment and experience, while the operating profit also fell by 9% to $2.465 billion.
In July, 2023, in order to control the cost, ESPN laid off nearly 20 TV commentators, including Jeff Van Gundy, the basketball anchor who worked for many years and the team coach when Yao Ming played for the Rockets. Now, ESPN has played the abacus of "reducing the cost" in media copyright.
It is worth mentioning that the NBA is also watching this high-level negotiation between NFL and ESPN. ESPN has also thrown an olive branch of shareholding cooperation to this top basketball league.
According to NBA’s plan, the next media copyright sales period will begin in 2025, and NBA hopes that the new sales cycle will earn 75 billion US dollars. Adam Xiao Hua, president of NBA, has repeatedly revealed that in order to achieve this goal, besides traditional TV broadcasters, the league is also considering cooperation with streaming media platforms and social media platforms. Public information shows that Google,andAnd other technology giants are in the bidding team of NBA streaming media copyright.
In Chinese mainland, the copyright of NBA belongs to Tencent. duplexFor a period of five years (2020 -2025), Tencent pays 1.5 billion US dollars (about 9 billion yuan) to the NBA every year. This price is three times higher than that of the last contract.
This price has obviously brought a lot of pressure to Tencent Sports. The main source of income for sports event broadcasting comes from the to B (enterprise-oriented) game advertisements. However, Tencent’s media advertising revenue in 2021 was only 13.3 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 7%. At the same time, Tencent Sports also lost a large number of paying users due to the suspension of events affected by the epidemic.
Under this pressure, since 2020, Tencent Sports has successively transferred NBA and MLB businesses to Tencent Video. Many business groups of Tencent Sports were also abolished in July 2022, and most of the employees were optimized. Only the business groups with liquidity such as sports copyright operation group, sports brokerage group and live event group were still retained.
Like Tencent, the other two giants in the "Ai Youteng" combinationAnd Youku are also cautious about the layout of sports copyright in the past two years.
Youku, who is backed by Ali, used 1 billion yuan to win 2018.Unfortunately, the effect is not satisfactory:In the third quarter of 2018, the financial report showed that the loss of Alibaba Entertainment, where Youku Video is located, reached 4.805 billion yuan, and the reason for the loss was precisely the investment in original content production and the purchase of copyright. At present, the most important copyright in Youku’s hands is badminton-related World Badminton Federation Tour and World Championships.
Then we joined hands with Xinying to set up Xinai Sports, and chose football, the most secure of the three big balls. Xin Ai has successively held the copyrights of top European football matches such as Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Champions League. In terms of new investment, Xinai has only invested more in sports where high-net-worth people such as golf and tennis gather in the past two years.