COVID-19 hit: APac sports media revenues to fall 35%

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SINGAPORE: The emergence of a global public health crisis with the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the recent weeks, has proved destructive to the 2020 sports calendar. The pandemic has disproportionately affected life in Europe and North America while Asia slowly recovers after the first wave of infections. 

Such disruption across the sports ecosystem is unique and is the first of its kind since the emergence of modern sports media contracts. The Asia Pacific Sports Media 2020 report by Media Partners Asia (MPA), released in the first week of March, estimated a $5.7 billion sports-related media revenue generation in 11 key markets in the region for 2020, compared to a $6.0 billion rights investment by broadcasters and OTT platforms. 

In a detailed market update, MPA has provided an impact analysis of how COVID-19 will affect sports media dynamics in 2020 and 2021 and has consequently revised down revenue forecasts.

MPA expects a 35% drop in sports-related media revenue generation in Asia-Pacific for the 2020 calendar year, effectively implying a $2.0 billion loss in revenue. This analysis assumes that most of the international properties in basketball, motorsport, tennis, golf and rugby will have a truncated season while European football will likely complete its season.

Domestically, MPA assumes a truncated IPL, AFL, NRL, Nippon Professional Baseball and others. The ICC T20 Cricket World Cup is expected to be held to completion in Australia in Q4 2020.

Up to 35-40% of this loss will be recovered in 2021 when the Tokyo Olympics and the Euro 2020 are expected to be held. In some instances, the growth of D2C SVOD sports-based offerings with an ability to subscribe month-on-month, could prove important for the sports ecosystem in key markets.