Outlook for the sports market in North America through 2021
Welcome to the 2017 edition of the PwC Sports Outlook, which updates PwC’s perspective on the sports industry, including recent results and potential opportunities and challenges to future industry growth. This year’s edition refreshes our five-year revenue forecasts through 2021 within four key segments of the North American sports market: gate revenues, media rights, sponsorship, and merchandising.
Transaction prices and values continue to grow across the five major leagues in North America with the average club value of each league having increased between 2.5 and 5 times over the past 10 years and between 10 and 20 times since 1990.
The industry is reaching the end of a 20-year building boom involving more than $55 billion in facility construction across professional sports and intercollegiate athletics. In the near term there will be capital expenditure requirements for existing stadiums in order to adjust capacity and reposition inventory to align with current market conditions and fan preferences—modifications required to enhance the in-venue experience. Teams want to deliver integrated and immersive experiences to drive retention and add value.
The industry continues to expand/refine ticket product offerings with further focus on seat rights flexibility, including expansion of ticket flex plan offerings and ticket exchange rights. Subscription-based ticket products are emerging across the major pro league teams and being positioned to deliver on another consumer preference; length of commitment.
The consumer wallet is most likely to expand to the extent value-added content is realized. Immersive video engagement will generally result from a shift in consumer expenditures across a number of areas in the nearer term, including gate, cable bills, merchandise, videogames and direct-to-consumer offerings by properties and rights holders.