In the latest interactive monthly data report, TV Sports Markets analyses the media-rights landscape in winter sports.
Further detail on the deals covered in this interactive data report are available on our Rights Tracker tool - click here for more information.
The winter Olympic Games
Last month saw winter sports take centre-stage as the 2018 winter Olympic Games took place in Pyeongchang.
This was the first Olympic Games of Discovery’s four-Games deal with the International Olympic Committee for rights across 50 European territories. The deal includes rights to the 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2024 Games and is worth a total of €1.3bn ($1.6bn).
It has retained pay-television rights for use on its Eurosport channels across the region and retained fully exclusive rights in Norway and Sweden for 2018 and 2020, and in Spain for 2018.
For the 2014 and 2016 Games, the IOC sold its rights in Europe for a total of about €771.5m. The IOC agreed direct deals in six markets – Italy, Germany, France, the UK, Spain and Turkey – and agreed a deal for the remaining 40 territories with the Sportfive agency.
To see the change in Olympic Games deal values in each European market, in both the 2014-2016 and 2018-2020 cycles, click the countries in the graphic below.
In the TV Sports Markets Global Report 2017, the total value of the Olympic Games in 2014 was $1.12bn (€811m), and this increased by only about three per cent to $1.153bn for the 2018 Games.
The US is by far the biggest market for Olympics rights, currently accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the property’s total media-rights value. NBCUniversal is currently paying $4.38bn for rights to four Games, between 2014 and 2020. NBC has also secured the rights to six editions of the Games between 2021 and 2032 in a deal worth $7.65bn in total.
Global deals for international federations
International winter sports associations often agree global deals with agencies to distribute their content.
The International Ski Federation (Fis) has the most valuable current global deal in place with the Infront agency, for its Alpine and Nordic World Championships, in 2019 and 2021. Fis this week tendered rights to the 2023 and 2025 editions.
Below is a graph showing global deals of selected winter sports associations. Hover over the bars to highlight information, including future deals that have already been agreed.
Ski federation battleground
The Infront agency and the European Broadcasting Union, the consortium of Europe’s public-service broadcasters, currently dominate the winter sports media-rights market. In September 2017, the IMG agency acquired international rights, excluding Germany, to the Austrian Skiing Federation, in a surprise deal.
The new deal with IMG is from 2018-19 to 2021-22. Austrian skiing federation international rights, including Germany, are currently held by the EBU in a four-season deal, from 2014-15 to 2017-18.
A new deal in Germany, from 2018-19 to 2021-22, has been agreed with public-service broadcasters ARD/ZDF.
Many winter sport experts are surprised IMG has chosen to buy rights in a sector Infront has a very strong position in. Holding only Austrian ski federation rights means IMG will not have a bulk of winter sports content to offer to broadcasters, which could make sales difficult. International rights for other major properties have been locked down by either Infront or the EBU well into the future, as highlighted by the graphs below and above.
Ice hockey dominated by the NHL
Ice hockey is by far the biggest of the winter sports. With a global media-rights value of $1.438bn, it is the seventh-most valuable sport in 2018. The total is almost entirely based on the NHL’s media-rights income, which in 2017 accounted for $1.2bn - 84 per cent of the ice hockey total.
The NHL’s most valuable media-rights market is Canada, not the US – of the 31 teams, 24 are based in the US; the other seven are based in Canada. Rights in Canada were sold to telco Rogers Communications, from 2014-15 to 2025-25, for C$436m ($336m) per season.
In the US, from 2011-12 to 2020-21, the media rights are worth around $200m per season.
NHL international rights – excluding the US, Canada and the Nordics - are held by the IMG agency from 2016-17 to 2020-21. Commercial and pay-television broadcaster Modern Times Group hold NHL rights in the Nordics over the same five seasons.