Altman Solon Survey: Amid Sports Spending Boom, 85% of Global Sports Execs Worry Sports Rights Owners Not Meeting the Changing Needs of Media Partners

85% of industry leaders believe that rights owners are not actively addressing the changing needs of their media partners, according to Altman Solon’s 2023 Global Sports Media Survey. The survey of more than 2,500 sports fans and 150 top executives from eight major global markets reveals that four out of the five major European football leagues have had relatively flat levels of domestic media rights revenue since 2017.

European football rights owners have focused on shorter-term (3-5 year) domestic deals with mainly traditional broadcast networks with the values of these deals plateauing due to a combination of cord-cutting, competition from other sports, and domestic market saturation.

“Unlike their North American counterparts, European sports organisations are facing a potential devaluation of media rights which have historically been a primary source of income,” said Altman Solon Director David Dellea. “Simultaneous shifts in the media landscape, including reduced content spending and increased collaboration are depressing media rights’ wholesale value. To mitigate these risks and continue to successfully compete in an increasingly fragmented sports rights market, sports organisations will need to enhance their understanding of existing and new media partners and drive new commercialisation models.”

Other key findings of the consumer portion of the survey include:

  • Execs are split on whether rights owners should prioritise direct-to-consumer DTC via internal offerings (47%) or rights licensing/supporting existing partners (53%)
  • Execs are also split on whether rights owners should foster development of pure streamers/tech groups (54%) vs. empowering traditional broadcasters and their transition to streaming (46%)
  • Fans of tier 1 sports leagues (European football, US major leagues) are willing to pay ~$20-25 per month to pay for access to live games
  • 58% of surveyed rights owners prefer to improve and innovate core product over optimising media and commercial models


This year’s survey, for the first time, included a poll of more than 150 global sports media executives to understand the priorities and solutions for a changing industry. In October, Altman Solon released data on global sports fans’ changing viewing habits.

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