The digital age and sports
Sports, since ancient times, has been a reason to get everyone together and enjoy a competition to win. Some are more popular than others, but this balance is changing radically, as they are not only “popular,” but nowadays, it has become important that they are profitable. Determining which is more profitable is the new goal of streaming companies. And this was seen in the recent licensing or rights agreements signed by the major content producers.
India has one of the largest populations in the world, reaching almost 1.5 billion people, which represents 18% of the world’s population; in this context, we can begin to determine why companies like Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Paramount (NASDAQ: PARA) have set out to compete for the rights to the “Indian Premier League”. Simply put, cricket is a very popular sport in this country of immense dimensions. The sheer size of this market and the long-term possibilities mean that great efforts are being made to maintain and increase the number of users on streaming platforms.
Many might think that soccer is one of the most popular sports, and this is correct, but with the closing of these deals on the agreement rights, cricket became one of the most valued sports, even above “La Liga,” or Spanish soccer. The total rights deal for the “Indian Premier League” reached record figures, around $6 billion dollars in total. Companies are not looking for popular sports, but the paradigm shift is focused on profitability.
Cricket is a very popular sport in about 10 countries, including England, Australia and India, as mentioned above. This may not seem like much, but we must bear in mind that between them, they add up to around 2.5 billion fans. The passion felt in these countries for cricket is very similar to that felt in other countries by soccer fans, and this is seen in the intention of content creation companies to unite everything on one platform, breaking down the cultural barriers that may exist between the two. Physical borders are also demolished, bringing cricket to the massiveness of the internet, having access to it from anywhere in the world.
Streaming platforms are adapting in search of capturing more users, and this is not only happening in companies such as Disney (NYSE: DIS) or Paramount (NASDAQ: PARA); companies like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) also have applications such as Apple TV+, a service that will allow broadcasting all “Major League Soccer” (MLS) matches from 2023 to 2032. This is undoubtedly an unknown adventure for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), not because of the launch of new applications, but rather a totally new adventure in the world of sports.
This year is the World Cup, and the fans of this sport will be celebrating on the field or glued to their devices following their teams; some of this is what Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is seeing since in its contract until 2032, it has an additional spice; the World Cup to be held in the United States in 2026.
Around the world, sports is a show and provides opportunities for everyone, including the various companies that accompany the teams on this journey to victory. And sometimes the journey is usually longer than expected, and there may be surprises; maybe the MLS will have some in the coming years, as it is no news that the best players of our time are close to retiring; Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are in their last years of professional soccer, and MLS could be a good option to not completely detach from soccer.
All entertainment companies seek to capture a greater number of users, breaking cultural and physical barriers, but the most interesting thing is to base this objective on sports, which, even though they are hundreds of years old, manage to adapt perfectly to the technological era. Sports, hand in hand with streaming, are in the midst of a digital revolution.