eSports PwC

Esports Outlook Shines In PwC Sports Survey

By Jay Stuart | September 25, 2018

Sports industry leaders expect the sector’s growth to continue at a healthy rate of 7% annually over the next three to five years, according to the third annual PwC Sports Survey, which was given an exclusive first public airing at the iSportconnect Lausanne Summit powered by PwC today.

Despite the growth outlook, concerns over shifts in consumer behaviour among younger generations have led to less confidence in sustained growth during the transition to digital.

The consumption of highlights is expected to grow faster than live sports content, and the ability to target fans through personalised content will be a top priority.

Furthermore, traditional sports can no longer ignore eSports and should devise a clear strategy to enter the space.

PwC’s Sports Survey collected the views of 470 sport industry leaders on a wide variety of trends that are prevalent in today’s market.

Additionally, it features three deep dives assessing the future of the sports media landscape, how to drive ROI through sports sponsorship going forward, and how to approach the fast-growing space of esports.

Highlights and on-demand sports content is foreseen to grow at a greater pace than live in the next three to five years, with 14-35-year-olds consuming considerably more non-live than live sports content online.

PwC predicts that the consumption of non-live sports content to grow at an accelerating pace relative to live going forward.

When asked where sponsors should be focusing their energy in the next three to five years to drive higher returns, nearly three-quarters of sports leaders chose personalised fan/customer targeting through improved CRM data.

By contrast, over half believe that senior management at global sponsors either do not or only partially appreciate the shift in consumer behaviour with regard to sports media.

David Dellea, the Head of PwC’s Sports Business Advisory team, said: “In the face of intensifying competition from alternative entertainment formats, brands and rights holders need to wake up and smell the coffee.”

He continued: “We are approaching a tipping point, where digital is overtaking linear in terms of media consumption. This does not mean ‘more of the same’ through different channels. Content needs to be better and stand out in order to keep fans engaged.

“Attention is the main currency of the entertainment industry, which sports can no longer deny being a part of.”

Esports is now perceived as having the highest potential to grow revenues globally among sports disciplines, with perennial powerhouses’ football and basketball in close pursuit thanks to their ongoing efforts to continue growing their respective sports internationally.

A striking 70.5% of sports leaders see it as necessary for traditional sports to develop a strategy to enter the space, where they can learn most in terms of fan and community engagement.

PwC projects the economy around eSports to double by 2022.

The PDF of the study is available on: www.pwc.ch/sports-survey-2018

eSports PwC