DISNEY/ESPN/BAM, Amazon ATP in the UK, CBS goes OTT @CDM Digital Sport — Issue #26

With the IAAF World Championships in full steam and Usain Bolt showing all of us he is human too, these last weeks have seen some major news shaking the sports media business.

Start from the last one, DISNEY and ESPN announce streaming services and acquire a controlling majority of BAMTech, in a move that can redefine a whole sector and touches two of the verticals I am quite entrenched in cartoons with my kids and sport for my professional life :).

Amazon taking ATP rights in the UK from Sky is another shocking development of a transition that will mean different paths to content for fans, and also start sending chills down someone spine in the broadcast and pay tv space.

CBS also announced a sports streaming service coming very soon adding another significant player to the market for fans.

But we also need to keep an eye on virtual MVPD or vMVPD like FuboTV which is another growing alternative for fans.

Bottom line: Sport is more and more at the center of the media space, but that space is changing fast, faster than most have predicted, I mean really faster.

The biggest news this week: Disney and ESPN going OTT and acquiring control of BAMTech.

Sorry for the long disconnect — I was busy with some personal issues now solved — on the good side, less spam in your inbox :)

Must Read

From Business Intelligence:

AMAZON AND TWITTER’S DIFFERENT SPORTS STRATEGIES: Twitter has become a home to smaller sports with relatively lower viewership, such as the National Lacrosse League (NLL), according to Bloomberg, while Amazon has eyed bigger sports like American football and tennis, according to Digiday. It makes sense that the companies would have different strategies in the space:

  • Twitter can position itself as the go-to platform for niche sports. National TV contracts on big networks for football and baseball are sometimes valued at billions of dollars. On the other hand, smaller leagues like the NLL often receive no rights fees and even pay to be on-air, due to relatively low viewership — ESPN’s 2016 broadcast of the playoffs averaged 4,000 viewers. Nonetheless, Twitter sees value in securing NLL rights as the destination for passionate fans to watch games. And this works out for the NLL, which averaged 344,000 viewers this year on Twitter.
  • Twitter has also formed a partnership with the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) to stream 19 games for the 2017–2018 season. The NWHL debuted in October 2015, and the partnership represents Twitter’s second partnership with a professional women’s sports league.
  • Meanwhile, Amazon secures more popular sports rights to attract global audiences. The e-commerce giant is interested in acquiring sports with global appeal, according to Bloomberg. Global appeal is important for Amazon, as it has a strong international presence, and accounted for over half of all e-commerce growth in 2016. For example, Amazon is paying $50 million to livestream 10 Thursday night NFL games. Additionally, Amazon also recently agreed to pay roughly $13 million a year for the exclusive UK rights to the ATP World Tour (tennis).

OTT and Live Streaming

Disney to End Netflix Deal, Sets Launch of ESPN and Disney-Branded Streaming Services

 Disney is ending its distribution agreement with Netflix for new movie releases, while it’s also buying majority ownership of BAMTech — the streaming-video company founded by Major League Baseball — in a $1.58 billion deal.

Amazon outbids Sky to win exclusive ATP tour tennis rights

 Amazon Prime streaming service will now show nearly all elite men’s tennis events except the four grand slams

CBS Will Launch a Streaming Sports Network Later This Year

 Three years after launching CBSN, an all-news digital network, CBS is about to do it again, this time focusing on sports.

How watching TV sport is whole new ball game | Daily Mail Online

 Amazon has bid £10m-a-year for UK rights to the ATP World Tour, meaning an Amazon Prime Video subscription will soon be needed by anyone with more than a passing interest in men’s tennis.

Behind Amazon’s push into sports broadcasting

 Sports broadcasting is the latest industry to catch Amazon’s eye, but its interest will only turn into intent once it knows whether the likes of tennis and American football can give its video service an edge in its tussle with Netflix.

Cord-cutting gets even worse as pay TV sees another quarter of historic declines


This feels a little like déjà vu. The country’s top cable and satellite TV providers just wrapped up another quarter of record subscriber declines as customers flee traditional pay-television distributors in favor of streaming and on-demand services, according to a research note from MoffettNathanson.

How FuboTV is winning with a strategy of courting sports-loving cord cutters

 The numbers show that cord cutting is no longer just a trend but a reality that has given rise to streaming services from Sling TV, Hulu, YouTube, and Sony. All of these services have their pros and cons, but what it largely boils down to is this: the more money a consumer is willing to spend, the more channels they will get.

NBCU’s Burke ‘Skeptical’ That OTT TV Will Thrive

 Virtual MVPDs are spreading like wildfire these days, but a top programming exec isn’t convinced that they’ll scorch the market.“It’s a very tough business,” Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, said Thursday on Comcast’s Q2 earnings call. “As we’ve said before, we’re skeptical it’s going to be a very large business or profitable business…they’re off to a slow start.”Those new entrants are adding subs, but not enough of them to overcome the losses in the traditional pay TV business.

AI/ Machine learning

Microsoft shares its vision to become AI industry-leader

 Microsoft filed an annual report with the SEC that stated the company was changing its vision from one that put mobile first, to on that puts AI out front.

Face it, AI is better at data-analysis than humans

 Anodot is bringing advanced algorithms and unsupervised machine-learning to data analysis through innovative use of artificial intelligence.

Sport Marketing, Sponsorship and Rights

Olympic Flame to Burn Brighter All Year Round with New Discovery Communications and Olympic Channel Partnership in Europe

 Partnership includes digital amplification, content creation and dedicated Olympic Channel programming windows on Eurosport

How Am I Doing? At Worlds, Video Screens Offer Athletes Real-time help

 A peek at the giant video boards at London Stadium can give runners, and even throwers, intelligence that can be the difference between winning and losing.

Would You Take TV Ads On The Field In MLB To Allow Shorter Commercial Breaks?

 Would you take corporate logos placed on the field of play in MLB broadcasts in exchange for shorter commercial breaks? The league is experimenting with it as part of pace of play.

NBC Sports acquires golf platform

 The NBC Sports Group division of US media company NBCUniversal has agreed a deal to acquire direct-to-consumer digital platform Revolution Golf.

The NHL and Diageo Tap Into Real-Time Data to Modify the Fan Experience on the Fly

 With millions of people flocking to summer music festivals and fan road shows, one Orlando, Fla.-based experiential marketing agency is making sure no good data goes to waste.

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly launching a digital brand called 7egend

 Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly purchased a majority stake in Portuguese agency Thing Pink for an unknown sum, with the aim of launching a digital venture called 7egend.

Picture of the week

Gatlin paying his respect to Bolt