At the gate and beyond

Outlook for the sports market in North America through 2023

Welcome to the 2019 edition of PwC’s 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 2023 within four key segments of the North American sports market: gate revenues, media rights, sponsorships and merchandising. We also take a deeper look around sports betting and its potential to reshape key parts of the market.

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Sports can look forward to significant five-year growth

PwC projects the sports market across North America will grow at a compound annual rate of 3.2% across the four segments analyzed, from $71.1 billion in 2018 to $83.1 billion in 2023. What else are we projecting?

  • Media rights are projected to lead industry growth in the forecast period, fueled by increased consumption through sports wagering.
  • Gate revenues from ticket sales and attendance have leveled off, but should experience growth with NHL and MLS expansion.
  • With the impact of sports betting, sponsorship revenues may eclipse gate revenues by the late 2020s.­
  • Merchandise remains a relatively flat market in North America.



Sports betting: an unstoppable catalyst

The love affair with sports in the United States is an immersive force that has a new and powerful teammate in gambling. The report takes a deep dive into gambling’s role in today’s sports culture and how that is permeating media and entertainment.


Access drives consumption. The ease of access is inextricably tied to smartphones empowering consumers with an on-the-go tool that knows no boundaries. In an era where content is constantly churned out for the consumer, access is the first step to engagement. 


The world is at our fingertips, more so now than ever before. Consumers expect to create, embrace and own their unique experiences—feeding an insatiable appetite for a deeper connection to everything they touch. Spearheaded and enabled by technology, this concept of “experience” offers almost limitless opportunity to capture consumer engagement and secure brand loyalty.


Live sports delivers viewers. It is DVR-proof. The potential to permanently embed legal sports betting into the media ecosystem could forever change the game.



Sports betting: the market's status

As of October 2019, 18 states plus Washington, DC have legalized sports betting. It’s possible that by the end of 2021, more than two-thirds of all states will have some form of legalized sports gambling. In this report we explore what this means for sports teams and leagues.

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Mark McCaffrey

US Technology, Media and Telecommunications Leader, PwC US

Michael Keenan

Managing Director, Sports Practice Leader, PwC US

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