Thoughts on the Future of Televised Sports

Sports and television have a symbiotic relationship—neither would be as successful without the other. The continuous improvement of the technical quality of live-broadcast television has coincided with decades of ratings growth in televised sports. In spite of these improvements, televised sports programming has in the last few years faced declining ratings for the first time since its inception. Every industry has had to make modifications to their tried-and-true strategies with the onset of quantum viewing, and the sports companies, though perhaps late, are now feeling the pinch.

The role of the sports league will change over the next 5-10 years, as athletes gain more control of their personal brand and the leagues exist primarily to maintain the integrity of the sport; negotiate TV contracts; and to create an environment where its athletes are able to thrive. In regards to technology, breakthroughs have led to more immersive viewing experiences, and this trend will continue over time. The success of esports among younger adults has caused traditional sports to become increasingly “gamified” to be relevant—that is, replicating many of the elements that have proven successful in the gaming and eSports arena and applying them to traditional sports.

This report examines the evolution that sports must take in order to stay relevant to younger viewers, including comments on:

  • The current state of live sports on television;
  • The impact of millennial and Gen Z quantum viewers;
  • Sports redefined for the 2020s;
  • The role of social media, technology, and gambling in televised sports;
  • The structural characteristics of a successful sports league; and
  • TDG’s recommendations and predictions.

As with all Analysis & Forecasts reports, this analysis combines both original primary quantitative research with the insights of our expert advisory staff. It also draws on publicly available data (e.g., financial filings, industry periodicals) and, in such cases, provides a reference for this material.

This report enables the reader to better understand the rapidly changing media environment and make proper business decisions based on their role, business perspective, and corporate structure. As the report demonstrates, different organizations will be successful based on different solutions that fit within their corporate mission. In the world of quantum video, there is no one-size-fits-all solution but instead decisions must consider multiple data points to be valid.

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