The rise of technology has transformed the way we are consuming all forms of media, and the sports industry is no exception. A report from Drake Star Partners forecast that the global sports technology sector will reach $31.1billion by 2024.
However, in these unprecedented times, the restrictive lockdown measures in place across the world have shattered the industry. In September, fans were told “to prepare for no spectators throughout the winter”. The financial impact of the pandemic continues to severely affect many teams, with FIFA having estimated a loss of nearly £11 billion to the football industry. Real Madrid experienced modest revenue decline with an income with €681.2m (£607m) through cost-cutting measures including 10% salary cuts applied to all their players and summer sales. Real Madrid’s director of public relations Butragueno, said at the World Football Summit: “I think the football industry has to adjust to this new situation… In the meantime we need to be both creative and be flexible enough to adapt ourselves to the new situations… I think it’s really important to understand that this is not a football crisis, this is a global crisis and football is part of the world and part of an economy which is struggling.”
It is clear that this crisis has accelerated the need for all major sports to embrace change to survive, for example by utilising streaming services in a growing technological landscape, although this particular initiative has not been without controversy. Streaming for some appears to be one of the few lifelines, outside of direct financial support from the government.
I have been involved in and followed the sports broadcasting industry from the outset of my career and it has been a fascinating journey to see how the market has evolved into the huge mainstream global industry it is today.
In recent years, the way that fans have been able to consume and experience live sporting events has changed at a rapid pace. Now, the pandemic has altered the sports broadcasting landscape, possibly forever. While the future is hazy as to when stadiums, grounds, and sporting arenas will re-open to the public, one thing we certainly know is the future of sports broadcasting will have technology at its forefront.