The AST wrap-up; Digitalisation continues to dominate the sports industry

Digitalisation, lockdown viewership and eSports are what’s in store in the world of sports business this week!

The PGA Championship is the next tournament to smash viewership records

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Golf is the latest sport to hit the roof with viewership numbers throughout lockdown. An average of 5.153m viewers tuned in to see American pro golfer Collin Morikawa take the first men’s major Championship of 2020. This was CBS’s most-watched golf broadcast since July 2019 by a 3% increase.

Global broadcaster ESPN also had benefits to reap. ESPN accumulated an average of 1.965m viewers of the PGA Championship final, making it 60% higher than TNT’s final round viewership numbers in July 2019. Plus, ESPN’s demographic segment of 18-49-year-olds’ watching the Championship increased by 40% from the past five years.

Lockdown has garnered more sports consumers behind their screens more than ever, how will the proposed return of stadium audiences compare?

The WNBA extend their Twitter partnership to dominate the sports media landscape

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The women’s leading basketball league has renewed their partnership with Twitter to stream ten 2020 regular season matches through the social media medium. The two parties have pursued four consecutive seasons together, which has revolutionised basketballs fan engagement incentives. 

The Twitter broadcasts will consist of live commentary from basketball specialists LaChina Robinson and Ros Gold-Onwude. This extended venture demonstrates sport is moving into an era of streaming becoming a serious competitor to traditional sports broadcasters, what could this mean for the value behind pursuing more digital content based partnerships in the sports industry?  

Threats to ban TikTok in the US doesn’t faze the New York Yankees

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Major League Baseball team New York Yankees and regional sports network YES Network confirm a multi-year innovative partnership with social media (SM) medium, TikTok. TikTok will pay $10m to the Yankees for three years which will see the short-video content platform receive stadium signage in the Yankees venue.

Despite the piracy concerns that surround the fastest-growing SM platform, New York Yankees believe in the product to provide a new strategy to engage with their audience. How much of an impact will this venture produce for the New York Yankees content strategy?

The Kansas City Chiefs go cashless with Tappit

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American football team, the Kansas City Chiefs, turn the Arrowhead stadium cashless by partnering with a mobile tech company, Tappit. The incentive behind this is to enhance the fan experience and to reduce further risk of spreading COVID19 once fans return to stadiums.

The fans can purchase stadium goods through the Chief app, where they have the chance to also received personalised vouchers and discounts. The cashless payment firm also has working ventures with Manchester City FC, Birmingham City, Dubai’s Seven Stadium and more.

The innovative collaboration will undoubtedly enhance the digital profile of the Kansas City Chiefs considering the cashless feature is available via the team app, however, what does this mean for the team’s fans who fit in the non-tech-savvy bracket? Could this deter the experience of this niche fanbase?

Fortnite’s ‘Party Royale’ is becoming a pathway for rights holders to engage tech-savvy audiences

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Party Royale is Fortnite’s latest addition which sees a unique mixture of different activities for users to engage. It’s become popular from allowing viewers to watch virtual concerts, Diplo, DeadMau5 and Steve Aoki are a few artists to have capitalised the space so far. US artist Travis Scott held a virtual tour dubbed, ‘Astronomical’ on the medium in April which drew in 12m players, 45.8m in-game views and 77m YouTube views.

The suspension of live entertainment due to COVID19 has influenced right holders to fill the void by exploiting the growth of esports mediums. Midia Fuse researched Q1 of 2020 to identify what sports Fortnite players watch on TV/ streaming services. 62% of Fortnite players watch American Football, 58% tune into basketball, 41% engage in baseball and 25% view boxing.

COVID19 has changed the game for rights holders to benefit from esports to leverage their fanbase to underpin commercial merit. 

The Women’s Scottish Premier League’s profile expects to rise under new BBC streaming agreement

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UK public service broadcaster BBC will stream the upcoming season of the Scottish Premier League. The league’s right holder, Scottish Women’s Football, was responsible for closing the deal of one match being streamed per week.

This initiative will grow the exposure of Women’s Football in Scotland, especially as the Gaelic language arm of the BBC, BBC Alba will double their live aired matches through the 20-21 season. Women’s football continues to prosper under significant broadcasting partnerships, including BBC Alba’s rights for the women’s Bundesliga and journalistic links with BBC Sport.


That’s a wrap! Younger audiences arguably hold the most influence over other demographics in the industry, could this ever change? Will Fortnite’s Party Royale feature be impacted once live entertainment venues reopen? Plus, is going cashless the right way forward in sports stadiums?  

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Published by Ashwyn Lall

I'm a First-Class Graduate in Sports Business Management who has worked across Local Government, Sport and the Third Sector. Throughout my career, I've developed a thriving passion to promote sport being used as a tool to bring positivity to the world we live in. This ethos has inspired me to create a website which champions this value through comprehensive online content for you to gain value from. Join me on this journey of discovering what sport can do to enhance society.

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