We’re switching up, not switching off

Everyone loves watching sport. We can’t get enough of it. The most talented athletes competing in the most glamourous leagues in the world, as long as we can tune in from the comfort of our sofas in glorious HD, we’ll be there.


But serious alarm bells went off last Autumn. Football TV viewing figures in the UK were down by 20%. Not just any football as well but the Premier League football. The golden boy of English sport was seemingly on the slide, people were switching off and the bubble was about to burst.


This followed an increasing pattern of decline amongst other major sports across the globe, with even the all singing, all dancing, corporate beast that is the NFL experiencing a 12% drop in people tuning in.


Sports leagues have been married to TV channels since what feels like time began. These relationships clearly still stand strong but as viewing figures continue to fall and alternative platforms continue to rise you have to think it’s going to take more than a counselling session to lead them to renew their vows when the next set of broadcasting contracts come to an end.


Amazon, for example, are set to lead the way and show what the future potentially has install, starting with their livestream “Thursday Night Football” during the upcoming American Football season, in a one-year deal that includes 10 games and has cost them $50 million.


Apart from being able to throw ridiculous levels of cash in their general direction, where the winning goal could well come from Amazon in potential sport partners’ eyes is their ability to showcase how they can significantly influence the way consumers interact around games.


With Amazon, you not only have an estimated 60 million + Prime subscribers, you also have immense data analytic capabilities, that can potentially impact spending and watching behaviour via Alexa.


Ordering items such as a pizza, your clubs new shirt or tickets to view the next match in person could happen almost instinctively.


To avoid this situation, traditional broadcasters have to develop digital products that not just replicate the features Amazon are capable of offering, but seriously challenge them by leading the charge. If they can prove their ability to do this, while offering the same level of reach and revenues to acquire the rights, then they can stay in the game.


If they can’t, then Super Sunday on Amazon Prime may well be the future.