Research from IABM and Appear finds that sport broadcasters are past the budget impacts of the pandemic

Barcelona women's football Getty

Research from media processing and delivery company Appear, in partnership with IABM, has found that 73% of US and UK broadcasters expect investment to increase from 2021 levels this year.

The pair asked 45 sport broadcasters across the two countries, finding that while 53% of budgets were frozen or reduced in 2020 this bounced back in 2021 to normal levels.There was also a big jump in broadcasters investing over $500,000 (£399k) in 2021, at almost 15% when in 2020 and 2019 it hovered around 5%. This was perhaps to catch up on development missed during the pandemic. 

The main drivers of investment are supporting the delivery of content to more viewers, and enabling new capabilities that would maintain competitive edge. The top technologies that are being invested in during 2022 with this aim are, in order of quantity, cameras, origin/packagers, remote production, content delivery networks, DRM, and contribution encoders.

This is a change from 2021, when the order was lightweight compression, networking equipment, cameras, content delivery networks, DRM, origin/packagers, personalisation/recommendation technology.

Thomas B. Jørgensen, CEO of Appear, said: “This research highlights a consistent theme we see with our customers, while there was a rush to adopt new technologies to keep the ship afloat among the troubled waters of 2020, there is recognised need to not just deal with today’s problems but to invest in tackling tomorrow’s.

“Sports broadcasting is a fiercely competitive field. Maintaining a distinct competitive advantage is key to thriving in it. Consumers don’t just want variety, they demand quality. Deloitte found that the single most important factor for sports fans is the quality of the broadcast or stream. Investments in 2020 and 2021 were about getting that content to viewers, while 2022 looks to be all about improving the quality and experience for audiences.”

Lorenzo Zanni, head of knowledge at IABM, added: “The report on sports broadcasting technology investment, produced by Appear in partnership with IABM, shows an industry that is back to natural evolution after the exceptional innovation driven by pandemic-induced disruption.

“Investment in technologies such as new image capture has returned, but the report also shows that the big shift to remote production necessitated by the pandemic has become permanent and fundamentally changed some technology investment priorities.”

The full report is available here.