M&E Daily

Synamedia Study: Worldwide Piracy Usage Differs Among Sports Fans

There’s good news and bad news for media and entertainment players in the sports space, according to a new report from video software provider Synamedia.

The inherent loyalties that come with being a sports fan translates into the willingness to shell out to watch your teams, with nearly 90% of those surveyed in Synamedia’s “Charting Global Sports Piracy” report subscribing to a pay TV or OTT service. The bad news? More than half of those same fans also pirate sports content at least once a month.

The report was generated on the responses of more than 6,000 sports fans across 10 countries, with Ampere Analysis managing the survey work.

“Global spend on TV sports rights is set to total almost $50 billion in 2020,” said Simon Brydon, senior director of sports rights anti-piracy for Synamedia. “Protecting these revenues and keeping sports on screens requires a deeper understanding of the evolving piracy landscape and a cogent response.

“This initial research into what motivates sports fans to access illegal streams establishes a baseline for a more nuanced and targeted approach to combatting piracy. Our ambition is to help sports rights holders and operators apply a more forensic approach that drives up legitimate revenues, reduces sports’ fans reliance on illegal streams and takes the wind out of the pirates’ sails.”

Of the 51% who said they regularly pirate sports content, 42% said they watch sports on a daily basis, a figure lower than just those who watch sports on only an average basis. Synamedia concludes that this means there’s opportunity for operators to drive incremental revenues with better-targeted sports offerings. The report found that only 16% of sports fans say they never pirate content.

Just over 30% of respondents said they pirate sports content because the events they want to watch are not available locally, and just under 30% said they pay the illegal sites they use for access to the stream they want.

“TV watching sports fans fall into three groups: Loyal Stalwarts who love traditional pay TV; Fickle Superfans who are sports mad; and Casual Spectators, more interested in the occasional sporting event,” the report reads. “Analysis of the attitudes and behavior of viewers within each group reveals who watches content from pirates, why they do it and, crucially, what might compel them to stop,” the report reads.

“For operators and rights holders, the key is to understand the different behaviors and use the opportunity to turn illegal behavior into legal sports viewing and revenues.”

To download the “Charting Global Sports Piracy” report, click here.