Photo credit: Tony Florez
On April 18, 2023, more than 800 leaders from the sports industry convened at the World Congress of Sports, hosted by SBJ and CAA. The prestigious event took place at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, and was attended by league officers, team owners and presidents, corporate sponsors and advertisers, media executives and agency heads.
At the event, WSC Sports Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer, Aviv Arnon, joined an esteemed panel to discuss the future of the sports media landscape with NBC Sports President of Programming, Rick Cordella, ESPN President of Programming and Original Content, Burke Magnus, and Fox Sports President and COO, Mark Silverman.
Watch the full 30-minute session below:
The panel discussed the differences between linear and streaming services, and the strategies that they’ve employed in both of those areas. Interestingly, despite a general decline in TV ratings and an increase in the number of consumers “cutting the cord”, the panelists touched on the fact that when it comes to sports, linear ratings are at an all-time high. Still, the need to diversify into multiple channels is imperative.
“For us, we want to be everywhere, in every environment where sports fans are. It was a decision that was made in conjunction with making a push into direct to consumer on the entertainment side with Disney+ and Hulu.” ~Burke Magnus, President of Programming & Original Content, ESPN.
The guys also touched on the decline of regional networks and expressed optimism that things will straighten out and improve for both the teams and the fans, amidst a backdrop of what has proven to be an extremely challenging year for many RSN’s.
Closing the session, moderator John Ourand asked the group which sport has the highest potential for growth—to which most panelists agreed that women’s sports is extremely appealing from a numbers perspective, citing a marked increase in interest over the last few years.
As a company that works with over 300 rights holders worldwide, including many owners of women’s sports rights, that prediction is in line with WSC Sports’ own research. Digging into our platform usage data from the past year, we saw that the number of videos our clients created around women’s sports grew by 200%. While fan engagement (views, likes, and comments on social media) went up by over 1,000%, proving that the gap between the exposure of men’s and women’s sports is shrinking, and that there’s much more to be seen from women’s competitions in the future.