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AsiaPac Sports Market Returns to Growth


After the damaging effects of the pandemic, the sports market in the Asia Pacific returned to growth in 2021, with revenues from TV and online video expected to rise from $6.7 billion last year to $8.9 billion in 2026, according to Media Partners Asia (MPA).

Asia Pacific Sports Media 2022, which tracks TV and online video sports revenues across 14 markets in the region, notes that the market took a hit in 2020 amid Covid-19. Sports rights fell by $1.2 billion that year, with sports media revenues down by some $900 million. In 2021, however, sports media revenues were up some 30 percent, driven by Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia (notably Indonesia and Thailand), with an 11 percent gain expected this year.

“Sports remains vital in Asia Pacific as a tactical weapon to build brand and market share and in certain instances, pricing power,” reports Vivek Couto, executive director of MPA. “However, premium tier-1 rights generally remain loss leaders or breakeven bets, especially in the case of marquee football and cricket properties. TV platforms remain important for the value of sports rights and monetization but the growth of online video as well as tighter consumer and advertising wallets have squeezed growth in key Asia Pacific markets with many players impacted by cord cutting as customers continue to churn to: (1) Integrated entertainment and sports streaming platforms; (2) Pure play sports streaming platforms; and (3) Piracy. TV reach and revenues will, however, grow at a robust rate in large scale markets such as India, which emerged as the second-largest TV sports market through the pandemic, after Japan.

“Meanwhile, the rapid growth of online video distribution has boosted sports rights and revenues through SVOD and freemium windows, especially in markets such as Australia, India, Indonesia and Korea. The economics of pure play sports streaming remains challenging; integrated entertainment and sports platforms remain on a stronger path while TV and streaming bundles will continue to play an important part in unlocking the value of sports.”

Between 2021 and 2026, sports media revenues are expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 5.9 percent. In 2022, Australia, China, India and Japan will contribute more than 82 percent to revenues. Online video’s share of sports media revenues will hit 33 percent this year, up from 28 percent last year, growing to 42 percent by 2026, driven by Australia and New Zealand, China, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan. TV will remain critical in India, Japan, Korea and Malaysia.

Sports rights costs are expected to be up 5.6 percent this year to reach $6.5 billion, reaching $7.4 billion by 2026. Australia, China, India and Japan will contribute 77 percent to Asia Pacific sports rights investment this year.

Football leads the market for sports rights in AsiaPac, with Premier League as the most valuable property. Rights for the 2022-2025 Premier League were down 25 percent to about $1.4 billion, largely as a result of reductions in China. Excluding that market, the rights for the Premier League in the region were up 10 percent to $1.2 billion, led by Australia and New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Thailand.

About Mansha Daswani

Mansha Daswani is the editor and associate publisher of World Screen. She can be reached on


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