From Punter Podcasts To Fantasy Football: How Sports Is Conquering Media Landscapes
Thu, Dec 7, 2023
Sport is a global pleasure, a
worldwide pastime, something that unites people - and also divides people.
Sport is about teams, franchises, individuals, and nations. It is about
trophies, championships, prize money, grand slams, majors, and global
domination. To try to measure the pure volume of joy it brings to billions
around the world would be essentially impossible. What I can say is that sport
delights; it has the power to deliver agony and ecstasy in equal measure, and
it is a genuinely global phenomenon.
Since the birth of the radio, on to
the television age, then to the early internet, and now to a digital landscape
that is dominated by streaming platforms, the process of watching sports has
gone through many evolutions - especially in the online world. Nowadays,
matches command vast audiences, and there’s a huge world of betting behind
every match, with millions of people staking wagers on the anticipated
outcomes, and groaning or cheering when their predictions fail or come true. So
much of this is now done by streaming, and whether you’re watching a live match
or checking out the future Super Bowl odds and deciding whether to make a wager yourself, you’re probably doing so
through the digital world!
But how many of the almost
innumerable digital platforms have both influenced and conquered the world of
sport? There’s no simple answer, but it’s worth exploring; after all, sports is
not just a pastime that brings pleasure to billions - it is a global business,
with global brands, global franchises, global supporters, and global
opportunities for more people than ever. It is not just players or teams that
now enjoy fame: it is supporters, entrepreneurs, and even armchair fans. Let’s
take a look at what this means.
Go beyond the players and the owners
of the clubs and you will soon see how sports is conquering media platforms
like never before. Let’s take the example of sports podcasts. One look at
iTunes or any other podcast platform such as Audioboom, Google, or Spotify will
soon show you the profusion of sporting podcasts. Some are from professional
sports journalists or ex-players with a readymade audience, but others are from
regular fans with a passion for their sport, player, or team.
You will also see that sports
podcasts are dominating this space in terms of the number of listeners and
subscribers. Global sporting brands such as Manchester United, the New York
Yankees, the Miami Dolphins, and the New York Jets, to name a few, are providing
their existing audiences with even more media formats, programs, podcasts, and
online content. You can even find sports podcasts that discuss the latest odds for sporting contests
around the world.
One of the many wonderful things the
internet has given sports fans around the world is a media voice and an online
presence. Sports fans are now creating their own sporting content, and in some
cases, they garner millions of listeners. Indeed, some clubs, sports
franchises, and sporting organizations employ their own in-house podcasters
because of how successful this can be. As clubs and sporting businesses
diversify their revenue streams, supporters speak and fans gain their own fans.
Everyone is a winner!
In any nation with an interest in
sports (and that is a very long list), you will find dedicated sports networks,
and plenty of them. Many are multi-sport driven, but more and more are
dedicated to one sport in particular. The Golf Channel, Sky Sports Premier
League Soccer, NFL Network, MLB Network… the list goes on, and it’s growing.
Even though these networks dominate the media landscape, streaming sports
service subscriptions are a rapidly growing revenue stream too. Even mainstream
general content streaming services such as Disney+ and Warner Bros. Discovery are looking at adding sports
streaming to their platforms.
Amazingly, this explosion in
streaming and availability is met by an eager audience, ready to watch, stream,
and subscribe. And one great thing is that many of these streaming platforms
are not restricted by country, territory, or timezone, so sports events,
matches, and tournaments can all be streamed in real-time, from anywhere with
an internet connection, and by anyone who can pay for a PPV or subscription.
So, it seems like sport is part of
the DNA of many nations, and it’s constantly growing in popularity - especially
with the global access we now enjoy. Whether you want to watch cricket in
India, soccer in Europe, American Football in the US, or golf around the
planet, there are streaming platforms, sports podcasts, and sports streaming
apps to satisfy the most die-hard fans. It seems likely that as the digital
world evolves, sport as a whole will continue to dominate and ultimately
conquer more media landscapes - and I would bet on that.