At the gate and beyond

Outlook for the sports market in North America through 2022


Welcome to the 2018 edition of Sports Outlook, which updates our 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 2022 within four key segments of the North American sports market: media rights, gate revenues, sponsorship, and merchandising.

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Sports gambling

One of the biggest sports industry stories of 2018 is the legalization of sports gambling in some US states. After the Supreme Court ruled that individual states could decide whether to allow sports betting, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi joined Nevada in legalizing sports betting with more states to follow. As the major industry players continue to iron out the finer points of potential integrity fees and revenue sharing/sponsorship deals, the signs point to legalized sports gambling being a boon for media rights deals between leagues and teams – an increase of 18% according to a recent American Gaming Association (AGA) study – due to bettors’ enthusiasm for viewing live sports events.

The Future of Sports Media Rights

The sports media rights game is in flux as the digital revolution is storming the gates of this lucrative sector and new entrants, the tech giants, are demanding admittance into this exclusive club. Due to changing viewer consumption patterns, particularly among younger viewers (18-49), sports rights holders are under pressure to create novel multichannel fan experiences that cut across digital and traditional broadcasting platforms. By 2022, sports consumption may look very different than it does today. 

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Michael Keenan

Managing Director, Sports Practice Leader, PwC US

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