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New research estimates football league could earn UK£19m a year from OTT subscriptions.
The National Football League (NFL) could earn up to UK£19 million (US$24.51 million) a year if it chose to eschew its UK broadcast partnerships and to go entirely direct to consumer (DTC), according to new research.
Industry analyst Ampere Analysis claims that the US-based league could quadruple the annual revenues its earns under its current rights deal with pay-TV operator, Sky Sports. Ampere estimates that contract to be worth in the region of UK£4.75 million (US$6.13 million) a year and it comes to an end at the close of the ongoing 2019/20 season.
Sky Sports currently holds rights to regular-season and play-off fixtures, including a share of the Super Bowl and the NFL London Series with UK public service broadcaster, the BBC. Amazon Prime Video, the US technology giant’s OTT service, also carries live NFL in the UK via its non-exclusive global deal for Thursday Night Football.
However, Ampere’s research shows that, of the two million NFL fans residing in the UK, only a third would be needed to sign up to the NFL Game Pass over-the-top (OTT) service for UK£70 (US$90) a year for the league to be able to significantly increase its UK broadcast earnings.
Minal Modha, consumer research lead for Ampere Analysis, said that some of the world’s top-tier sports leagues and competitions could see bigger returns on investment by opting to put all of their matches on dedicated streaming platform in markets where their product attracts small, but dedicated audiences.
She said: “It all depends on your production capabilities but, for the NFL, which has that [capability] in their Game Pass, for them to go full DTC, that could present a big opportunity, and is an example of how tier-one sports can attract more subscribers in markets where they are a tier-two property.
“The fact that the NFL has been adding more and more games over the past few years, that is really testament to the set-up of the NFL brand in the UK. I think the NFL offers something different to what we’re used to in Europe – it has a true blend of sport and entertainment.”