The simple act of turning on the television to see what games are on tonight has become history. Public broadcasters have been gradually losing sports broadcasting rights in favor of paid broadcasters as they cannot bear the costs they represent. Italians who want to watch Serie A football matches must subscribe to Sky Italia; the English who follow the Premier League religiously pay the BT Sport fee; Telephonic offers Hktv25 matches in Spain and, in France, Ligue 1 is only seen on BeIN Sports France. The retransmission rights of sporting events are distributed today by large telecommunications companies that, in the absence of other competitors in recent years, have been dividing the cake at the price they wanted.
The so-called ‘teleco’ have become rich with the money of subscribers who had nowhere to choose. They have been years of fat cows for them, but every bubble ends up bursting. And it seems that times of change are coming. The almighty technology companies have been gaining ground, they have changed our way of life, the way we interact, how we communicate. And they have decided that the time has also come to stick their nose into the sports offer.
To the argument of the telecommunications companies to enjoy sport ‘whenever you want, where you want and how you want’; the technology companies have added the definitive claim: ‘at a better price’. Today’s young people, the so-called millennials or Generation Y, live in their internet world. Those born between the 80s and 90s do not recognize a world without mobile phones, or purchases without a click. Let’s not ask them to pay 80 Euros to watch football on television. They are children of the ‘pay x view’, they are the users of GAFA, an acronym used to refer to the four technology companies: Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.
The British group ‘The Bugles’ released in 1979 the single called ‘Video killed the radio star’. It was a worldwide success and the evidence cried out. In the same way that the video clip succeeded the radio star, pay television ended 해외스포츠중계 and piracy is standing up to subscription content. GAFA is now for the task of putting order and changing history again.
The Belgian Pierre Maes, with more than 20 years of experience in the field of sports broadcasting rights, recently visited us as a speaker on the Master’s Degree in Football Administration and Management at the Johan Cuff Institute in collaboration with FC Barcelona. We had the chance to talk to him about the TV rights business, how it has evolved and where it is going. After starting his professional career in Brussels as a lawyer, Pierre Maes held various positions at Canal+ from 1989 to 2002: he was legal adviser at Canal+ Belgium and director of sports and programs, later becoming responsible for all sports acquisitions in Belgium. , Holland, Scandinavia and Poland for Canal+ Group. In 2002, he founded his own consulting company, created a worldwide network of sports broadcasting rights consultants (The Vantage Network) and entered into an agreement with Sport Business Intelligence, an integrated product of the Sport Business Group. In 2014, he helped MP & Silva sign a six-year contract with the Belgian Football League, as exclusive media consultant.
Will we have to continue paying for Premium Sports Content? Will prices continue to rise or have they peaked? Will we be able to buy games through Amazon or will we end up watching a derby on Netflix? Pierre Maes warns that companies like Amazon, Facebook or Google are testing the ground, taking over specific content packages, without going, for the moment, for the whole cake. But it may just be the beginning.
There was a time when people didn’t have the opportunity to choose what to watch on television, but it was free. With the arrival of ‘ pay x view ‘, the offer is huge, but users complain about the price. How have you seen that process?
It really has been a long process.
Pay television arrived in Europe in 1984, with Canal + in France, and the success of Canal + brought other channels into play, such as Sky in the United Kingdom, offering paid content, and ‘pay per view’ was a big success. They had the possibility to buy sports and, from that moment, people had to start paying to see it.
We agree that content is key. But when I accept that I have to pay to watch certain sports on television, I am also more demanding about the quality of that content. What do televisions do so that people believe that it is worth paying for it?
Young people, mainly students, do not pay. And if your argument as pay TV is that your experience of watching what they offer is better, the fan doesn’t care. What the fan wants to see is the game live, nothing more.