Newzoo’sUnderstanding Media Rights in Esports Report’ provides an overview of the esports media rights market, provides case studies and details monetisation. With deals like Twitch’s USD $90m purchase of Overwatch League’s broadcast rights and 59% of esports viewers expecting to pay more for esports subscriptions in the next 12 months, it’s easy to see why media rights are the fastest growing revenue stream in esports. As the Newzoo’s ‘Understanding Media Rights in Esports Report’ says:

The global sports media rights business is valued at more than USD $40bn in 2018, representing 25% of professional sports revenues. Esports, consisting of more than a thousand individual leagues, events, and championships, is expected to generate close to USD $100m in media rights this year and USD $400m by 2021. The share of esports revenues related to the trade in content rights will grow 18% this year to 24% in 2021, making it the fastest growing esports revenue stream.

One of the youngest sports leagues to get mainstream acceptance, the UFC, shares some historical similarities with esports and could point us to the future of esports media rights and content distribution.

Like esports, the UFC was long disregarded as a ‘serious’ or mainstream league. It struggled to find buyers for its content and nearly went bankrupt in 2001. However, advertising and sponsorship help boost revenues and support its development, building towards a USD $120m per year deal with FOX in 2011. Subsequently, just this year, the UFC signed a USD $300m per year deal with ESPN, for the next five years.

More than ever, content is king and the battle for premium, exclusive and live content has helped drive up media rights values. The explosive growth of investments into content by the world’s tech giants has made content rights an even more competitive battleground. Facebook spent USD $300m securing live English Premier League broadcasting rights in four South East Asian countries and exclusive distribution rights in India, outbidding traditional broadcasters in the process.

With Disney-FOX and ATT-Warner mergers complete, we expect to see further evolution in content monetisation and direct-to-consumer distribution, as rights holders attempt to maximise the value of their properties. With nearly all traditional sports league content tied up in long-term contracts, esports provides a welcome new opportunity.

The ‘Understanding Media Rights in Esports Report’ provides specific details on:

  1. Esports media rights forecasts to 2021
  2. Deal locations
  3. A snapshot of key esports content deals in 2018
  4. The Overwatch League Media Rights Case Study
  5. Smite Pro League and Smite Console Series Media Rights Case Study
  6. ELeague Media Rights Case Study
  7. FIFA eWorld Cup Media Rights Case Study
  8. Examples of content owners monetisation models
  9. How ‘shoulder content’ adds revenue opportunities
  10. Future opportunities for monetising esports media rights

To download Newzoo’s ‘Understanding Media Rights in Esports Report’, click here.