A current view of the sports media rights market from Head of Legal, Sport at BT
This is an extract from the Sport & Media Rights chapter of the LawInSport & BASL Sports Law Yearbook 2016/17. To access or order a full copy of the Yearbook, please see here.
Note: The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own.
2016/17 has been a busy year. The general theme was digital – whether it was social media exploitation, M&A prospects for digital companies, piracy, “cord-cutting” or access to content. The explosion of eSports and the arrival of drone racing has also added new excitement and opportunities into the rights market and the year has seen these being pushed to the forefront of broadcasters’ minds.
Whilst these developments have caused a few challenges for traditional broadcasters, they were not a surprise. We have all been moving towards a more digital-heavy offering and the way in which these new opportunities are exploited is where the focus has been, and is likely to be for some time to come.
This article explores some of the most interesting commercial developments for sports broadcasters in 2016/17, including:
- Social media and digital exploration – looking at the moves by established social media players such as Twitter and Facebook into mainstream sports broadcasting;
- Mergers and acquisitions – looking at the key activity in the space, most notably surrounding Formula 1 and UFC;
- Changing consumption models - looking at how broadcasters are responding to piracy concerns and the recent shift in consumer viewing demands;
- eSports and drone racing – looking at how the latest sports trends are being approached by broadcasters;
- Free to air – a brief update on the sector’s performance; and
- Looking forward – what is to come in the remainder of 2017.
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- Tags: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) | Broadcasting | Champions League | Commercial | Corporate | Cricket | Darts | Drone Racing League | Drone Sport Association | Esports | European Commission | Football | Formula 1 | India | Indian Premier League (“IPL”) | Italy | La Liga | Media Rights | Serie A | Spain | The FA | The FA Cup | UEFA | UEFA Europa League | United Kingdom (UK) | United States of America (USA)
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Alex is General Counsel at the Arena Racing Company ("ARC"). ARC is the largest racecourse operator in the UK, both owning and representing the media rights of a significant number of racecourses and greyhound tracks. ARC also has partnerships with The Racing Partnership, At The Races and Sky Sports Racing that cover all aspects of licensing, production and distribution of media and betting coverage from racing on the various racecourses. Alex covers all areas of the business but his primary focus is media and data rights licensing and distribution.
In addition, he is an Independent Non-Executive Director of the British Judo Association.
Prior to ARC, he was Head of Legal at Eleven Sports and before that also Head of Legal at BT Sport, having joined just before the launch of the channels. Outside interests include cycling. Alex lives with his wife and three daughters in Suffolk.