The news industry—in print, online and on television—has benefited greatly from the 2020 election. Not only have the ratings/reading of these outlets skyrocketed, but the advertising dollars have, too. Local, statewide and national candidates have poured money into television advertising, and the big “independent committees” pushing candidates or specific political issues, have added to the heft of political spending dramatically this fall. For now, with the end of the election, people think that political advertising will die down, at least for a while. What is the next “bright light” for the traditional media business?
Sports content is that bright light, particularly with the Olympics coming up later this year, assuming no additional postponements, and media outlets from newspapers to websites and apps to television are excited about these advertising and sponsorship dollars.
We have also seen a lot of excitement about women’s sports in the country, as well as new sports being introduced to the media consumer, which will expand the media opportunities and revenue for sports.
For instance, the new Premier Lacrosse League launched in 2018 and organized their schedule around when they could get TV exposure. This year they grew the TV audience on NBC for their championship by almost 25% over 2019.
We also see more attention focused on women’s sports. Over a year ago it was announced that the Los Angeles Angel City Football Club would be the newest team in the Women’s Soccer League. Angel City was partly funded by celebrities like Serena Williams, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria. Billie Jean King is also a member of the ownership group.
Julie Uhrman, Founder and President of Angel City FC, in an exclusive email exchange, said “Angel City is bigger than a game. We are a platform that stands for equality and impact, where we strive to set higher expectations on and off the field. We believe leading with passion and purpose will lead to profitability. Angel City Football Club is reshaping expectations of what a sports franchise is today.”
Also, sports is not just sports anymore, particularly for the media outlets. Sports now includes Esports – the competitive environment encompassing professional and amateur players of certain video games that lend themselves to team competitions. The biggest titles include League of Legends, Call of Duty, PUBG, Counterstrike, Overwatch and others. Millions of people are watching thousands of competitive players challenge other teams for big prize money, as well as revenue from livestreaming, endorsements and merchandise. Esports has become big business, estimated at over $2 billion in worldwide revenue. My research has shown that there are 500M people around the globe regularly watching Esports in person or remotely.
Though much of the audience watching Esports competitions is young men, there is also a big minority of women following Esports. In fact, Cloud 9 one of the biggest and most successful Esports teams has announced an all-female team that will compete in the game Valorant, a newly launched first-person shooter from Blizzard Studios.
Uhrman, a leader in the media, gaming and sports world, welcomed this all-female team to esports, “As a long-time media and gaming entrepreneur and now president of a professional women’s soccer team, I could not be more thrilled to see the rise in female participation in esports. Women bring a totally different perspective to sports and this team will open esports up to a much larger, more diverse audience, while also creating new revenue streams and attracting even more women to get in the game.”
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