Sports industry thriving, despite global financial crisis

The global sports industry continues to thrive, despite the ongoing challenging economic climate.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has just released Changing the game: the Outlook for the Global Sports Market to 2015, its second outlook for the global sports market.

It revealed that despite the economic climate, the sports industry continued to thrive, with many major sporting events proving to be more popular than ever.

PwC’s markets managing partner Bruce Baillie said that New Zealanders didn't have to think back very far to find an example of a major sporting event that proved a success on and off the field.

“We truly were a stadium of four million as world cup fever gripped our nation earlier this year and showed our appetite for major sporting events is as strong as ever.”

It was a situation reflected around the world as major sporting events experience the closer convergence between the sport and entertainment industries, he said.

“It’s the old technology chestnut, on-going enhancements in broadcasting and digital technologies are shaping how we spend our leisure time and limited resources.”

This impacted on people's expectations when it came to major sporting events, Mr Baillie said.

“If supporters leave the comfort of their couch to watch a rugby game or cricket match, for example, then they want an added-value entertainment experience.”

Due to that, sport faced a delicate balancing-act, he said, the need to maintain value for money in light of increased ticket prices and rising expectations among the paying public.

He warned that sports that got it wrong would see supporters voting with their feet and wallets and not turning up.

“Then following not far behind will be the sponsors”.

Just as it did for the broadcast industry, the use and impact of technology was proving a challenge in the sporting arena, the PwC study found, as consumers generally expected to access sport for free on their TV or internet.

“While live streaming and social media in our increasingly digital world is a winner for sports fans, it’s a major challenge for rights holders as they try to retain control over how, where and by whom sports content is consumed,” Mr Baillie said.

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