I want to disambiguate the term “Rights-holders” in the sport business

Too many times I have been at sport business conferences or reading magazines or meeting clients and the term “Rights-holders” has come up.

Too many times I have been unsure of what the intended meaning was unless it was not already very clear by the context in which the discussion was held.

The traditional sport business ecosystem that gravitate around media rights is a marketplace based on a supply and demand model.

Sport entities (International/Regional/National Sport Federations, National Leagues, Event organisers) who manage sport events are on the supply side and sell media rights with a territory-based approach to media entities (traditionally broadcasters, recently also other media players like telcos, mobile operators and other digital media groups).

We need to consider that depending on how global a sport event is the number of territories/buyers considered can easily reach 200.

This marketplace is often mediated by Media Rights Agencies who “help” sport organisations to sell media rights globally (avoiding the distribution complexity) or who package media rights in a portfolio to “help” the buying side (avoiding the aggregation complexity).

Very often the big sport organisations refer to those entities to whom the sell rights MRL “Media Rights Licensees” or RHB “Rights Holding Broadcasters etc…

In a different context very often the term Rights-holder is associated to the selling/demand side, for example referring to FIFA or the Premier League.

I think we should find a clear way to disambiguate the supply side (sell) and the demand side (buy).

I would like to propose a new terminology model on which I would try to aggregate consensus.

Rights owners: The supply side (sell)
Rights holders: The demand side (buy)

I have no rights (!!) and minimal authority on the subject, but would like to know what you all think about this or have any alternative and better solution to propose.