Nov 27, 2018

The appeal of regional sports networks

The top 10 most expensive cable affiliate fees in the U.S. last year were all sports channels — mostly regional sports networks (RSNs) — with ESPN being by far the most expensive, per SNL Kagan data provided to Axios.

Adapted from Kagan, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: They're expensive because the bulk of their content comes from licensing sports rights, which as noted above, are getting more expensive.

So why would Amazon want to get into such a business?

  1. To bolster Prime membership: Per The New York Times' Edmund Lee: "At a time when pay TV is in decline, sports content drives viewership across platforms. Owning rights to big franchises would help Amazon market its Prime program (which costs $119 a year), especially if that membership included access to those games. That, in turn, could add more revenue, as Prime members tend to buy more on Amazon."
  2. It's easier than going directly to the sports leagues: Per BTIG Managing Director and Media Analyst Rich Greenfield in a note to clients: "While ultimately tech platforms could simply buy local rights directly from leagues/owners, the quickest way to enter the local/regional sports licensing game could be through the acquisition of RSNs."

Go deeper

Amazon's year of turbulence

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon's 2019 was full of headline-grabbing moments — everything from political fights to new records for the company that have upended the way we shop.

The big picture: The tech giant's year started with a fight with New York City and ended with its biggest single sales day in history. And there were plenty of dramatic days in between.

Go deeperArrowDec 29, 2019

Women take the lead on donating to support female college sports

The Indiana Hoosiers celebrate after the NCAA Women's College Basketball game. Photo: Bobby Goddin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Former female athletes are donating millions of dollars to build facilities, endow scholarships and support coaching positions at their alma maters, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Participation in women’s college sports teams is at an all time high, outnumbering men's sports for more than 20 years. And yet, the marketing and sponsorships from benefactors for college female teams has caught on slower than men's sports.

Go deeperArrowDec 25, 2019

Stadiums are the new department stores

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Professional sports stadiums and arenas used to be built as standalone venues (think: in the middle of a parking lot). But in a push to expand beyond game day, teams are increasingly building them as anchors for larger real estate projects.

Why it matters: As the areas surrounding modern stadiums evolve from a handful of restaurants, bars and shops into entire "districts" with things like condos, hotels, offices, event spaces and fitness centers, sports teams have unlocked a new revenue stream: land.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020