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Sport and media rights – the year in review 2018/19

Football Broadcast
Friday, 31 May 2019 By Andrew Ryan

I’ve spoken about the Premier League becoming the ‘Netflix of football’, i.e., the video on demand platform that controls its own product. If you had 100 million subscribers on ‘Premier League TV’ like with Netflix at £8 a month, you’d be bringing in £10bn a year, not £8.7bn every three years like the current deal does.”1

This suggestion from the former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan was reported in the Evening Standard newspaper in February of this year. After getting over the amusement of seeing something referred to as the “Netflix of [insert product]” for the umpteenth time, I wanted to give the proposal deeper consideration. For someone who consumes probably almost all of his sports content through “OTT” (over-the-top) services and has a clear history of trumpeting the benefits of distributing sports content through connected devices, my initial reaction was surprisingly negative – why was that?

In reality, it was nothing to do with the merits of the Premier League considering moving down a direct to consumer path via an OTT service (which is an option that certainly merits consideration), but that it took what is actually an incredibly complex question, one made even more difficult by market-by-market nuances, and turned it into a simple and unrealistic piece of arithmetic.

The direct to consumer broadcast question is one facing all sports properties at the moment. Thus, it feels like an appropriate time to use the Sport and Media Rights “Year in Review” to dig a bit deeper into the question of selling media rights to intermediaries as against taking the OTT route. Given the Simon Jordan suggestion, we can walk through some of the factors that the Premier League would likely consider when contemplating whether to turn their back on the incredible source of revenue that the pay television market has been over almost 30 years to jump into the world of OTT.

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Andrew Ryan

Andrew Ryan

Andrew Ryan is Head of Media Legal and Business Affairs with the International Olympic Committee's Television and Marketing Services entity. He advises on all commercial media aspects of the IOC’s operations, with a primary focus on both rightsholder broadcast partner relationships and the Olympic Channel which was launched at the conclusion of the Rio 2016 Olympics. Prior to joining the IOC, Andrew spent four years with Perform Group where he was Head of Legal (Commercial). Perform Group is a global leader in the commercialisation of multimedia sports content across internet-enabled digital platforms. During 2016, he was heavily involved in the development and launch of Perform’s OTT service “DAZN” and negotiated the ground-breaking 17 year strategic media partnership with FIBA which involved the creation of FIBA Media.

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