Dec 18, 2018

Streaming and legalized betting usher in new era for sports content

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The transition to streaming, the legalization of sports betting and the rise of esports have created new dynamics for the sports industry that will continue to play out next year.

The big picture: Sports betting is driving a new content industry. Betting on a sports event increases the likelihood of watching it on TV, according to a new telecommunications, media and technology report from Deloitte.

  • Media companies are already looking for ways to create content that will satisfy sports gambling fans. CBS launched its first-ever sports gambling show on its streaming platform earlier this year. The Action Network, a subscription service for sports betters, made waves last month when it signed ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell.
  • Non-media companies, like DraftKings and FanDuel, are beginning to integrate more live and on-demand media content into their betting experiences.
  • "You're also likely to see an increase in esports betting and content," says Jeff Loucks, the executive director of Deloitte’s Center for Technology, Media and Telecommunications.

Leagues are expanding, and getting choosier. Sports leagues that have traditionally distributed their content to pay-TV providers are thinking more strategically about licensing their content to digital streamers where it will eventually get wider mass distribution.

  • The New York Post reported Monday that MLB is considering giving individual teams streaming rights. Many teams, as the Post's Josh Kosman points out, already have stakes in their own regional sports networks, which makes this dynamic complicated.
  • The NFL has led the charge in licensing its Thursday night games exclusively to Twitter last year and then Amazon this year and again next year. To accommodate the needs of die-hard fantasy sports fans, two new football leagues are expected to debut in the next two years — the Alliance of American Football and the XFL, per the Washington Post.

Regional sports networks are losing value: As it turns out, Fox may not be getting the types of bids it wants for its 22 regional sports networks that it has to divest as a part of its deal with Disney.

  • The high cost of RSNs distorts the value of the traditional cable bundle, writes BTIG Media Analyst Rich Greenfield. "If anyone buys the channels beyond a large network owner such as Fox, the RSNs will almost undoubtedly be tiered – great for consumers, but devastating to the new RSN owner," which needs to maintain maximum distribution.

Football is keeping the lights on: Despite weak November ratings for cable and broadcast networks last month, NFL ratings continue to grow, according to research firm MoffettNathanson.

  • Ratings are up 5% so far this season as of last week, particularly on Sundays. This may be due in part, according to the firm, because news network ratings have been down in the -10% to -20% range for the better part of this year.

Go deeper: The high-stakes game for sports betting dollars

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Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been taken to the intensive care unit of St. Thomas Hospital in London due to increasingly severe coronavirus symptoms.

The backdrop: Johnson was admitted to the hospital on Sunday for what Downing Street called "routine tests" because his condition had not improved ten days after he tested positive for the virus. His condition has since "worsened," according to a statement, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will step into his place "where necessary."

Go deeperArrow20 mins ago - World

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,309,439 — Total deaths: 73,703 — Total recoveries: 273,546Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 352,546 — Total deaths: 10,389 — Total recoveries: 18,953Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor issues executive order to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  4. Public health latest: Asymptomatic children could play important role in coronavirus spread, new data from the CDC shows.
  5. States' latest: West coast states send ventilators to New York and other states experiencing a more immediate need — Data suggests coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. Jobs latest: Unemployment could already be at 13% "and moving higher," per former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Wisconsin governor issues order to delay in-person primary voting until June

Tony Evers. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order Monday delaying in-person voting for the state's primary election — currently scheduled for Tuesday — until June 9.

Why it matters: Wisconsin was slated to be the only state to vote on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite having a stay-at-home order in place.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health