Consumer-facing sports space

Part
01
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Part
01

Fantasy Sports

Three major players in the consumer-facing Fantasy Sports space are DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fantasy Premier League. Traditional season long fantasy sports are popular in the United States and Europe, however, the US market dominates daily fantasy sports.

There are many traditional season-long fantasy sports sites in the US and Europe, however, they offer only trivial differences in terms of user experiences. It would likely bog down to personal preference when it comes to user experience. This is the reason that the major players in the consumer-facing fantasy sports space are DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fantasy Premier League. DraftKings & FanDuel turn it into a billion-dollar industry, only because of fantasy football. The Fantasy Premier League is the official fantasy football site of the English Premier League, which popularly drives the fantasy space.

General information on the fantasy market landscape

I have included some general information of the differences in the US and European fantasy sports markets. It gives a great deal of perspective as to why daily fantasy sports exploded in the US/Canada, but to this day have not gained traction in Europe.

A 2015 analysis of the US and Canada fantasy football market states that as of 2015, there were 50.6 million fantasy sports players in US and Canada. That is more than a 270% increase since 2003.
FanDuel and DraftKings generated over $2.6 billion in revenue, which is estimated to reach $7.29 billion in 2018. The same report breaks down the demographics further as follows:
Sex — 80% male and 20% female.
Ethnicity — 89% Caucasian.
College degree or more — 78%.
Full-time employment — 66%.

Statistics from a 2016 report shows, “Nearly 57 million people play fantasy sports in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, and 66 percent of players are male. The average age of players is 37.”

A 2017 report noted that FanDuel remains focused on the US market and has withdrawn from the UK market. Updated numbers: "57 million people play fantasy sports in the US & Canada. In Europe the number is 30 million. Fantasy sports has been dominated by the season long format and that is still the product with the largest following." The same report asserts that since 2009, FanDuel and Draftkings continue to lead the way.

“Daily fantasy sports, such as fantasy football, have been present in Europe for years, but have failed to achieve a strong market share against traditional gambling and sports betting.” This is attributed to the strong nature of sports betting in the UK, while in the US, sports betting is not as regulated compared to online gambling. However, there is a sizable market of fantasy sports players in Europe with the most popular being football. "The most popular Fantasy Football game in the UK and Ireland is the official Fantasy Premier League game which has 3.5million players."

According to a report by Gambling Insider, daily fantasy sports found more success in the US than Europe due to various reasons. “Daily fantasy football solves two problems: the amount of time season-long games take up and the fact players aren’t rewarded for that time. In the US, DraftKings and FanDuel spent hundreds of millions of dollars raising awareness around both of these problems. [...] As mentioned, DraftKings and FanDuel were the first time that most people in the US could gamble on sports legally. This contributed to DFS’ growth, as daily fantasy football filled a void. They built something US users wanted. The UK landscape is different, with widespread, regulated and incumbent sports gambling. The daily fantasy football operators that launched in the UK asked users to make a choice between betting on daily fantasy football or their regular betting site.”

The three major players in the cousumer-facing fantasy sport space

The three major players that I identified in this space are DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fantasy Premier League. I will discuss each of them below.

Draftkings

SUCCESSES
DraftKings currently has more qualitative advantages. DraftKings offers a wide array of sports that you won’t find at FanDuel. It has expanded to Malta and Germany, and is still attempting to tap into the European market. DraftKings receives more daily traffic and is ranked higher globally.

STRATEGY
Draft Kings, a fantasy sports operator originating from the USA, has chosen Malta as its base of operations for Europe." They were able to acquire a license after a Malta legal notice recently split games of chance from skills based games, such as fantasy football. They set up office in the UK in 2016 and found the results to be encouraging. This is what motivated them to expand their operations in Europe. They are expecting to see results similar to what they saw in the UK and expand their presence in Europe. They offer additional sports for those looking to play daily fantasy, e.g. eSports, MMA, CFL, and NASCAR.

DATA
DraftKings is ranked in the top 50 fantasy sports websites although not all are prototypical fantasy sports sites. On this report,
DraftKings.com is ranked number three and the Global rank is 7,604.

FanDuel

SUCCESSES
In this report, FanDuel was ranked slightly above Draft King's in 2015. The report also states that FanDuel is the overall market leader in terms of number of players overall. Since 2009, FanDuel and DraftKings continue to lead others. FanDuel and DraftKings generated over $2.6 billion in revenue, and estimated up to $7.29 billion in 2018.

STRATEGY
As of August 29, 2017, FanDuel remains focused on the US market and has withdrawn from the UK market. "FanDuel offers a better sign up bonus, arguably a better withdrawal policy, and their fantasy scoring and roster requirements are easier to understand." FanDuel also offers both the desktop and mobile versions which are more user-friendly and offer a cleaner experience. Their strategy seems to be to increase their customer base by offering a user-friendly experience to their users.

DATA
FanDuel is ranked in the top 50 fantasy sports websites although not all are prototypical fantasy sports sites. On this report,
FanDuel.com is ranked number six and the Global rank is 10,382. FanDuel and DraftKings generated over $2.6 billion in revenue, and estimated up to $7.29 billion in 2018.

Fantasy Premier League

SUCCESSES
"The most popular Fantasy Football game in the UK and Ireland is the official Fantasy Premier League game which has 3.5million players."

STRATEGY
"The key to the success of FPL, is how simple it is to play — picking a team, understanding the points scoring system, having a chance of winning." The ease in understanding the scoring system is their key to success, which eliminates the need to research about the scoring system for hours. The owner believes in following a "niche strategy", however, its success is yet to be estimated.

DATA
Premierleague.com is the number one soccer website in the world and has a global rank of 482.

Conclusion

The three major players in the consumer-facing Fantasy Sports space are DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fantasy Premier League. The report has discussed the general state of the fantasy sports landscape and then narrowed down to the three major players.
Part
02
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Part
02

Community Sports

The Gaelic Athletic Association is a hurling and Gaelic football league with more than 2,500 clubs around the world and 60 million euro in revenue. Little League has teams in every US state and 80 countries, and has graduated 40 million youth since its founding. Gothia Cup hosts 40,000 players every year, and has had participants from 146 countries. You’ll find a deep dive of my research on each organization below, including more details on what qualifies each as a major player.

gaelic athletic association

SUCCESSES

At the company's headquarters, the GAA stadium called Croke Park has a capacity of over 82,000 and is considered one of the most modern stadiums in Europe.

In 2016, the GAA earned €60.5 million in revenue, a 7% increase from the previous year. Nearly 50% of this revenue came from ticket sales to GAA events. Another 30% came from commercial revenue.

STRATEGY

A key part of GAA's success is that the organization was developed around and by Irish culture and society, and because of this, it has become a source of national pride (and international pride among the vast Irish diaspora). The organization has always been community-based, and is almost entirely an organization of volunteers, another key to its success. GAA preserves two unique sports, hurling and Gaelic football. Due to these efforts, the GAA "has become an integral part of Irish consciousness, playing an influential role in Irish society that extends far beyond the basic aim of promoting Gaelic games." The cultural pride around this organization has led to great enthusiasm within Ireland and without, and enables the spirit of volunteerism that keeps the organization running.

DATA

The GAA is Ireland's largest sporting organization, and it is "celebrated as one of the greatest and most prolific amateur sporting organizations in the world." The organization has over 2,200 clubs across Ireland, and an additional 400 clubs around the world. Roughly 1.5 million people attend the GAA Championships each year.

little league

SUCCESSES

Little League graduates have gone on to become "political leaders, professional athletes, award-winning artists, and a variety of other influential members of society." A total of 45 players have gone on to play Major League Baseball.

As of 2016, Little League Inc. had over $82 million in assets and annual revenues of $28 million. Little League's major corporate sponsors include Honda, Canon, Baseball Factory, Heinz, and Gatorade.

In 2016, more than 16,000 stories featuring Little League appeared in the media, with a total publicity value of over $19 million and a reach of 12 million people. The Little League World Series was covered by 275 credentialed media professionals and three major television networks, including ESPN.

STRATEGY

One key to Little League’s growth is that, from the beginning, the organization had a simple and sustainable model for financing and expansion. The growth was almost organic; the first league wasn’t only three teams, and when other communities heard about it, they wanted to replicate the model. The organization itself did little but supply the model and resources. Moreover, since the beginning, each community was responsible for finding its own local sponsors, relieving the organization of the burden of funding new chapters. In addition, Little League relied heavily on earned media and word of mouth to spread the message of the organization. These aspects of the Little League model allowed the organization to grow to a national scale with little overhead capital or effort. Now, Little League relies on its scale and name recognition to outdo any competition.

DATA

According to the Little League website, it is "the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with millions of players and more than one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and more than 80 other countries." In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Little League had 2.4 million players around the world. The organization has existed for more than 80 years and graduated 40 million youth. In 2016, the audience for the Little League World Series was more than 52 million.

gothia cup

SUCCESSES

Since its inception in 1975, the Gothia Cup has grown from a tournament of 275 teams from 5 nations to over 1,700 teams from 82 nations. Registration for the 2018 Gothia Cup was record-breaking, with space for local teams filling up within an hour of registration opening.

The organization and tournament are sponsored by such major corporations as Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Turkish Airlines.

In 2016, Gothia Cup expanded to a second tournament in China, which hosts 330 teams from 32 countries. A few months ago, the organization announced that it would be expanding to a third tournament, this time in the Middle East. This tournament is set for Abu Dhabi in 2019.

STRATEGY

From the beginning, the strategy behind the Gothia Cup was to be as inclusive and international as possible. The intention was always to invite teams from all over the world to play together, regardless of differentiating factors like religion, race, or nationality, which gave the tournament a unique competitive advantage. In addition, the tournament included a class for girls from the very beginning, another unique factor. Another aspect of Gothia Cup's success is that the organization works on children's issues around the world through the Gothia Cup Foundation and with its corporate partner, SKF. This raises awareness of the Gothia Cup internationally and promotes a good reputation for the organization.

DATA

Gothia Cup is "the world’s largest and most international youth football tournament." Hosted in Gothenburg, Sweden, the most recent tournament attracted over 1,700 teams and over 40,000 players from 80 countries, who collectively played over 4,500 games during the tournament. The tournament was first held in 1975, and since then, nearly 1 million players have participated from 146 countries.

Conclusion

To wrap up, the Gaelic Athletic Association, Gothia Cup, and Little League are all major players in consumer-facing community sports. Each of these organizations has earned international recognition and a large international following through their strategies and resulting successes.
Part
03
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Part
03

Sports Training

Hello! My research has found that while no major Sports Training company holds dominant market share, the major players in the consumer-facing Sports Training space are Exos, Axon Sports, IMG Academy, and World Academy of Sport (WAoS).

METHoDOLOGY

There is no precompiled list of the 'top' players in the sports training industry readily available online. I conducted an extensive search was conducted through various industry reports, market studies in the sports training space (specifically in the US, Europe, APAC). I shortlisted Exos, Axon, IMG Academy, & WAoS based on their expertise in the sports training market.

Each of the identified major players was individually researched to obtain the required information. Much of the available information was derived from the websites of these companies and ocassionally market reports and some magazine and news articles.

OVERVIEW

The Sports Training industry is estimated to pull an annual revenue of US$7 billion, according to IBISWorld (the largest provider of industry and procurement research in the US) a their November 2017 report. The report states that the 3 important factors for success in the industry are having a good reputation, offering seasonal sports coaching, and easy access for sports students. In addition, market characteristics such as "Number of adolescents aged 10 to 19" and "Per capita disposable income in the Sports Coaching industry" are cited to impact industry performance.

Note that athletic trainers are a subset of sports trainers, but they focus on helping athletes recover from injuries and avoid injuries and illnesses, rather than focusing on coaching for sports or individual fitness.

EXOS

EXOS is a company providing services in healthcare and sports training. In addition to providing sports training services, they also consult on facility design, and facility management, health promotion, physical therapy and nutrition.

SUCCESSES
They have been called "the world' most elite training operation" by a Men's Fitness article. The company was awarded the President’s “E” Award for exports and the 2015 IMPACT Business of the Year award.

STRATEGY
In general, EXOS calls itself a "Human Performance Company that helps people reach higher and achieve more" with a 4-step approach: learn, design, deliver and refine.

Specifically on their work in the Sports Training industry, they state that they help athletes around the world at any point in their career succeed by doing what works best for the team and every player. Their training involves a combination of in-person coaching, mobile tools and online content so that clients always have useful data, insights, and expert guidance within reach.

DATA
The EXOS website claims that independent studies have shown that EXOS solutions generate superior health outcomes and improved performance for individuals and organizations in many industries.

EXOS had a revenue of $149.4 million in 2016 according to Inc.com, and was listed in the Inc 5000 list, an annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the US. The company has over 3500 employees (referred to as "team members"), they provide services to over 1.2 million people at over 400 sites worldwide. They have a presence in diverse EXOS owned-and-operated performance centers as well as corporate campuses, military bases, health clubs, community centers, health systems, academic institutions, and sports organizations in more than 30 countries.

AXON SPORTS

Axon Sports designs state-of-the-art programs and applications for training cognition in sport.

SUCCESSES
According to the Axon Sports website, elite athletes across baseball, football, basketball, soccer, rugby, and many other sports are already training their brain using our products. The company has been called the "Cognitive Training Leader" by stack.com. The article also states that the company has obtained funding from Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks owner) and his co-investors.

STRATEGY
Their mission is "To transform the way athletes train" and "To maximize performance through cognitive training". They aim to give athletes a competitive edge by focusing on training the brain, as opposed to physical training, which has historically received the majority of attention in athletic training.

DATA
Their website claims that they have trained 3000 athletes and completed 25 scientific studies.

IMG ACADEMY

IMG Academy works to identify and matriculate at the higher education institution that fits their academic, athletic and social needs.

SUCCESSES
Since 1978, they have grown from a full-time tennis boarding school to a multi-sport training destination that has hosted, trained and taught some of the world’s top athletes, according to the IMG Academy website.

STRATEGY
They claim that their competitive edge involves remaining true to their original purpose, inspired by innovation, and fuelled by the scent of victory. They aim to help athletes compete anywhere and win everywhere.

DATA
Their graduates have gone on to pursue academics and athletics at many of the schools U.S. News & World Report’s annual Top 50 list, including: Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Brown, West Point, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins. Their alumni have earned more than 133 professional all-star nods, 3 Heisman trophies, 108 major championship titles, 63 MVP awards, 14 national titles, 29 world championship titles, and 32 Olympic medals over the past 35+ years. This information was obtained from their website.

WORLD ACADEMY OF SPORT

The WAoS delivers learning programmes for sports and event participants, encompassing athletes, managers, administrators, officials and coaches, through a series of tailored educational programmes.

SUCCESSES
The International Baccalaureate (IB) partnered with the World Academy of Sport (WAoS) to support student athletes aged 16–18 in managing the balance between academic study and training as high performing athletes. They have also collaborated with organisations including International Sport Federations, National Sports Federations and National Governments as well as the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee and local organizing committees.

STRATEGY
Their strategy involves several key objectives: To provide strategic direction and leadership to the WAoS, to build relationships between sports partners in order to develop industry standards for sports education for implementation by education partners, to provide advice in relation to WAoS, to provide independent industry advice, and to represent the interests and advocate the long term value of WAoS to industry stakeholders.

DATA
The company has offices in Melbourne, Manchester, Dublin, Athens, Vancouver and Geneva with its main office in Manchester, UK.

CONCLUSION

To wrap it up, important factors for success in the Sports Training industry appear to be having a good reputation, offering seasonal sports coaching, easy access for sports students, product differentiation and product personalisation. I did not find differentiation in the importance of these factors by sport or geography.

Thanks for using Wonder! Please let us know if we can assist with anything else!
Part
04
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Part
04

Sports Shopping

Decathlon, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have been identified as the major players in the consumer-facing sports shopping space. Other significant players include Nike, Inc., Adidas AG, Foot Locker, Inc., and Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sports. The global sports goods retail market will continue to grow over the next four years (2018 to 2022) primarily in the segment of athletic apparel. The sporting goods industry in the United States has an overall revenue of $49 billion (2017).
After an extensive search through industry reports, various market reports, and other trusted media sites, the major players in the consumer-facing sports shopping space have been identified. Each one of the four shortlisted brands was individually researched to obtain qualitative and quantitative information on successes, strategies, and other data. While Decathlon has a strong presence in the global sports market, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and Dick’s Sporting Goods are the leading companies in the United States sports market.

Overview

According to the market study done by Lucintel, the retail sporting goods industry has been steadily growing with a predicted CAGR growth of 3.4% during the period 2015-2020. APAC countries are expected to dominate the global industry of sports shopping due to the rise in the standard of living and the increase in disposable income.

Major Players

1. Decathlon — Revenue 10 billion EUR (2016 estimated)

Successes:

Established in the year 1976 in France, Decathlon has become the world’s largest sports retail brand. The company is a leader in both manufacturing of sports products and online sports distribution stores. They excel in design and manufacturing sporting goods for over 70 sports. The company has acquired the leading spot in the market due to their integrated model that covers all aspects of their business — from research and logistics to retail sales. Decathlon has a strong global presence that spreads across 46 countries (including franchises) and the company is currently working to expand further.
The following are some the awards that Decathlon has won or been nominated for, in the UK sporting goods industry -
Road.cc Commuting Bike of the Year 2016/17
Women’s Running Retailer of the Year 2017
Men’s Running Retailer of the Year 2017
Best Quick Pitch Tents 2017
Best Tent 5-6 Person 2016
Women’s Running Trail Shoe 2016 — Bronze Winner
Shortlisted for Best Running Customer Service Award (Online and Offline)
Shortlisted for Best Online Retailer

Strategy:

Since the inception of the company in France, all its stores around the globe, work with the focused ambition to place innovation in the forefront. The company strives to lead the sports market in both innovation and customer experience. Decathlon’s primary focus is on researching new concepts, developing creative product designs, and event ideas that provide their customers with the best sports experience. In order to stay as the leading sporting retail brand, Decathlon keeps up-to-date with the latest technological advancements made in sports design and manufacturing. They have over 20 unique in-house brands, each brand dedicated to a specific sport. Decathlon is also passionate about preserving the planet and is, therefore, working on various “green” projects like,
— Recycling waste to reach 0% landfill by the year 2019
100% green energy consumption by the year 2019
100% freehold sites producing renewable energy using solar panels by the year 2019

Data:

Decathlon has over 78,000 employees worldwide, spread over 46 countries and 1,030 stores. The company is the largest sports retailer in France with over 23,000 employees across 301 stores, 16 warehouses, and 10 Decathlon villages. 33% of the overall revenue is acquired through the sports market in France, while the remaining 67% is from the international sporting goods market.

2. Academy Sports + Outdoors — Revenue $4.60 billion (2015 estimated)

Successes:

Established in the year 1973, Academy Sports + Outdoors has become a leading player in the sporting goods industry in the United States. The company provides a large range of sporting products and carries a range of name-brand goods that includes sporting equipment, apparel, and shoes for physical fitness training, competitive sports, and outdoor activities such as hunting, camping, boating, and fishing. It is currently, the fourth largest retail sporting goods chain in the country. A notable achievement was made in the year 1990 when the company succeeded in selling the highest number of cowboy boots than any other sporting goods chain in the country. The sale of women’s boots (1990) rose to 70% more than the previous year. The company set a new record in the year 2015 for opening stores in 20 new locations in the United States. During the tenure of Academy’s President, J.K. Symancyk, the company’s sports retailer store count increased by 50%.

Strategy:

The company has always followed the sales philosophy of EDLP (EveryDay Low Pricing). This policy provides their customers with the assurance that the products they receive for affordable prices are of good quality. Academy Sports provided their Texas customers with numerous sporting product lines that were not available through other sporting chains. The range of their products makes this company unique with its marketing strategy of “one-stop shopping” for consumers of all age groups. Academy Sports’ strategy is to ensure customer satisfaction in all aspects including the process of merchandise returns.

Data:

With over 209 existing stores across the United States, Academy Sports has more than 23,000 employees. The company’s stores are termed “megastore outlets” or “superstores”, as they range between 35,000 square foot to 65,000 square foot in size. The ‘total sales’ figures for the years 2014 and 2015 are $4.10 billion and $4.60 billion, respectively, in the United States.

3. Big 5 Sporting Goods — Revenue $1.02 billion (2016 estimated)

Successes:

Established in the year 1955, Big 5 is another leader in the United States sporting goods shopping space. Their product lines include apparel, sports equipment, athletic shoes, and accessories for team sports, camping, hunting, tennis, golf, fishing, summer and winter recreational sports, and roller sports. In the year 2002, Big 5 went public, holding its first initial public offering and resulted in acquiring $100 million to invest in their market growth. In order to assist with this growth, the company opened their largest distribution store measuring 1 million square foot in size.

Strategy:

Big 5’s primary strategy is to spread its reach through controlled expansion and cost leadership. Their aim is to provide their customers with the best shopping experience, low prices on their product ranges, and convenient shopping. The company is known to provide the lowest prices within the sports shopping space. With its primary strategy of controlled expansion and cost leadership, Big 5 is currently competing with other major players to stay in the lead.

Data:

Big 5 has stores in 432 unique locations across 11 states of the country and has over 9000 employees. The El Segundo-based company posted its revenue of $1.02 billion for the year 2016, which is $0.01 billion less than the previous year’s net sales ($1.03 billion in 2015). An indicator of the company’s future growth is the increase in sales for the same set of stores, which rose to 1.7% during the year 2016.

4. Dick’s Sporting Goods — Revenue $7.92 billion (2017 estimated)

Successes:

Established in the year 1948 by Dick Stack, Dick’s Sporting Goods is a major player in the sporting goods retail market. The company provides a wide range of sporting goods from “guns to yoga pants”. It also offers premium brands such as Carrie Underwood’s CALIA, fitness wear for women. The company ranks at #340 in the Forbes 500 list and currently has a market value of $5.489 billion (2017).

Strategy:

Dick’s Sporting Goods makes timely adjustments to its sports ranges to keep with the latest trends in the industry. The company is progressing with its strategy of “store-within-a-store” featuring “Under Armour All-American” and “Nike Field House” concept stores. Dick’s Sporting Goods aims at fulfilling efforts of all aspects of sales such as buy online-pickup in store, ship from store, in-store returns, and initiatives like “endless aisle”. This approach has let Dick’s Sporting Goods to make significant progress in the sports shopping industry.

Data:

Dick’s Sporting Goods has over 644 stores across the country with 37,000 employees and is working on expanding its reach further in the United States. Dick’s Sporting Goods recorded a revenue of $6.90 billion (estimated) in the year 2015, as compared to the previous year with a revenue of $6.50 billion (estimated). Their online stores accounted for $700 million in sales for the year 2015.

Conclusion

To wrap up, the four major players identified in the sports shopping space are Decathlon, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Each of these four players is a leader in the industry of sporting goods and retail shopping.

Part
05
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Part
05

Sports Betting

888 Holdings, Paddy Power-Betfair (merger), Unibet, and William Hill have been identified as the major players in the consumer-facing sports betting space. Other significant players in the sports betting space include GVC Holdings, Kindred Group, Bwin.Part, BetAmerica, Betsson, Fan Duel, Gala Coral Group, Sportech, Watch and Wager, Betfred, Draft Kings, and TVG. Research shows that the sports betting market holds the largest market share of 40% in revenue of the global gambling market.
After an extensive search through industry reports, government databases, global market studies, and other trusted media sites, we have identified a list of the major players in the sports betting space. The key source in identifying the major players is the Global Sports Betting Market 2016-2020 report (paid report) which provides a detailed analysis of the sports betting space. Each one of the four players identified was then individually researched to obtain both qualitative and quantitative information on their successes, and strategies.

Overview

Over the past five years, the sports betting space has seen significant changes in both consumer behavior and market growth due to new easing regulations. With notable strides being made in technology, vendors are employing concepts like social gambling online and creating gambling apps that are becoming increasingly popular among consumers of all age groups. In order for sports betting companies to maintain a place in this competitive field, they will need to be up-to-date in all aspects such as licensing policies and procedures, advancements made in technology, and emerging games. The global sports betting market has been predicted to grow at a CAGR of 8.62% for the period 2018-2022, with APAC countries dominating the sports betting market (47% of overall global market revenue).

Major Players

1. 888 Holdings Revenue $521 million

Successes:

Established in the British Virgin Islands, 888 Holdings is an acclaimed online gambling empire with sports betting that accounts for 11% of its total business. Its other segments include Casino (61%), Poker (18%), and Bingo (9%). They launched their sports betting segment in the year 2008 with their sportsbook listed on the London Stock Exchange.
In the year 2013, 888 Holdings’ segment 888Sport was relaunched in partnership with Kambi Sport Solutions that provided great results. The company offers various sports for consumers to bet on that includes, and not limited to, UK and European football, cricket, boxing, horse racing, and golf. They also feature Racing iCards and Live Betting that provides their customers with a network of choices. The company has a presence in the regulated US online market and launched their sports betting segment over PC and Mobile platforms in Spain (2014) and Denmark (2015). They continue to expand their reach into the regulated European markets.

Strategy:

The company aims at increasing the value of the shareholder by focusing on organic and strategic profitable growth. 888 aims at maintaining their position as the leading B2C player in the sports betting space and improving their market position by making strategic acquisitions. They are focused on keeping up-to-date with the current trends, regulatory changes, and have plans in place to “exploit strategic changes” for their benefit.

Data:

Known as an online gambling empire, 888 is a leader in the software needs of the sports betting space. The platform used by the company is well-designed to take heavy traffic without frequent crashing. According to Itai Pazner, the Senior Vice President of 888 Holdings, the latest technology trends adopted by the company provides an “immersive betting experience” and provides the ability for their customers to place their bets from anywhere (location) and at any time of the day, with ease.

2. William Hill: Revenue $1.9 billion

Successes:

William Hill is known to be UK’s largest player with over 2400 licensed sports betting locations that offer opportunities covering numerous sporting events. It is also a leader in Europe’s online betting market. William Hill provides their customers with access to mobile, online, and telephone betting platforms. The company is Nevada’s first British bookmaker and established its presence in the United States in the year 2012. In the year 2013, William Hill acquired Sportingbet which is a leading vendor of the Australian sports betting market. In October 2017, William Hill was awarded the 2017 Playtech Award for its innovation and marketing excellence in the industry. The company also won the Spring Playtech Award for its successful integration of the Playtech Single Wallet through its casino and sports segments.

Strategy:

William Hill’s strategy focuses primarily on developing and improving customer experience. They are continually engaged in making their platforms and services faster and easier to use. With their vast product range, William Hill works on making customer experience both personal and enjoyable. They aim to spread their reach internationally by making the best of various digital markets. Apart from the UK, they lay their emphasis on the Australian market and are currently building their presence in the United States, Spain, and Italy. In order to grow and spread their reach to new markets, William Hill enlists two key projects. The two key projects are — a “transformation programme” which focuses on increasing efficiency and provide their higher investment with £40m of the company’s annual savings, and a 3-year program that focuses on delivering a “global technology platform”.

Data:

The company has over 100 full service and kiosk locations in the state of Nevada. Currently, the company dominates the sports betting space in Nevada with 55% share in this market. William Hill is a leader in the sports betting market of the state and one of the major players in the global sports betting market, employing 17,000 individuals worldwide. According to eConsultancy, the company provides over 1.3 million sports betting opportunities on their website. The company is listed in the London Stock Exchange, on the FTSE 500 Index.

3. Paddy Power- Betfair — Revenue $1.6 billion

Successes:

Paddy Power Betfair is a merger of two sports betting leaders, Paddy Power (52% shareholders) and Betfair (48% shareholders), with Betfair that focuses mainly on “sophisticated sports bettors”, and Paddy Power that focuses on “entertainment-led” consumers. They operate in four main divisions — online, Australia, United States of America, and retail. They lead their online division across the online sports betting space in Ireland and the UK and accounts for 80% of their total market revenue. The company is currently spreading its reach through European markets. With their technologically advanced platforms, the company offers numerous professional betting programs.

Strategy:

Paddy Power-Betfair focuses on online-led market, mobile-led market, sports-led market and regulated markets. While their online division is their fastest growing segment, they aim to provide equal importance to their other segments to drive growth. According to their main website, Paddy Power-Betfair works on strengthening their leading position in the market through regular app updates and constant innovation in their products. They have a great competitive advantage since the company operates the “dominant exchange” with a capital-light business and marketing model.

Data:

In their Australian division, Paddy Power-Betfair employs more than 700 individuals and contributes $300m (AUD) to the country’s economy. Their retail segment consists of 600 betting locations that spread across Ireland and the UK, employing more than 3000 employees. The company is currently the fifth largest retail vendor in the UK. The company also has an online betting network that is presently operated in over 35 states in the United States of America. They accumulate over $2 billion worth of bets per year.

4. Unibet — Revenue $700 million

Successes:

Unibet has been recognized time and again for its many products and its excellence in “responsible gaming”. The following are the awards the company has achieved in the years 2015 and 2016.
Innovation in Poker — EGR Awards 2015
Affiliate Marketing Campaign — EGR Awards 2015
Poker Innovation of the Year — European Poker Awards 2015
In-Play Sports Operator of the Year — IGA App Awards 2015
Online Sportsbook Operator of the Year — IGA App Awards 2015
Best Poker Affiliate Program — IGB Affiliate Awards 2016
Socially Responsible Operator — IGA Awards 2016
Sports Betting Operator — EGR Awards 2016
Socially Responsible Operator — EGR Awards 2016
For their #LuckIsNoCoincidence campaign, they worked on utilizing current trends in marketing to reap a return of “£18.25 for every pound spent” and acquired great results.

Strategy:

Unibet aims at providing a user-friendly platform for customers to deposit, play and withdraw their winnings. They lay emphasis on maintaining their customer service and improving customer experience in multiple facets. They have been continually working to share insights and knowledge to their customer base in order to facilitate a good process of making informed bets. As technology holds a great importance for companies to stay in the top ranking positions in the market, Unibet strives to improve their product offerings where technology is concerned, keeping innovation at the forefront. The company is working to expand its reach further with the help of social media platforms for the coming 2018 FIFA World Cup. According to Casino News Daily, Unibet is planning on expanding its Australian market using a more aggressive approach.

Data:

Unibet is considered one of the leading sports betting company in the market due to its great range of betting segments. The company provides over 40,000 live sporting events for customers to bet on every year.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the market leaders in sports betting are 888 Holdings, Paddy Power-Betfair, William Hill, and Unibet. Each of these companies has a wide reach in numerous locations, providing customers around the globe with great user experience, enabling them to enjoy betting on live sporting events.

Part
06
of eight
Part
06

Sports Gaming

Based on the 2016 Sports Video Game Power Ranking, three sports video games emerged on top of the list based on their revenues and special features. EA Sports’ FIFA, NBA 2K, and MADDEN NFL are the three major players in Europe and around the world. These three top players share some common features and strategic choices like having official licenses from the relevant sports governing entities, virtual games that closely resemble the actual games, role-playing stories within the games, and micro transactions that can be done post sales in order to further increase the companies’ revenues.

EA SPORTS' FIFA

One of the major global players in the consumer-facing sports gaming space is Electronic Arts Sports’ (EA Sports) FIFA. FIFA is a football video game series that is being released every year since 1993 by Electronic Arts under the EA Sports label in Europe and globally. It aims to merge the virtual and the physical world of football games by incorporating real-life player features, actual teams, and the total feel of an actual match into the game.

EA SPORTS' FIFA SUCCESSES

A major factor contributing to EA’s FIFA video game’s success is its pioneering move to secure an official license from the world’s football governing body, FIFA, early on and ahead of its competitors. In subsequent releases, it was able to secure more exclusive licenses from teams and players around the globe.
These moves made EA’s FIFA nearer to its goal of market dominance by making its video game authentic and closer to the real world of football. They were able to use player’ resemblances, actual football teams’ attributes, and the overall game structures and atmosphere.
The data generated by EA’s FIFA from their realistic video game is also a competitive advantage for them. Motion-capture sensors, professional photography sessions, structures based on real-life design and other techniques enabled the game’s realistic features. Well-known players and actual teams use the game to get more insights and information about their own teams and their opponents.

EA SPORTS' FIFA STRATEGY

EA’s FIFA employs several strategies that helped in continuously driving the game’s success.
One strategy is to set up ways to get the video game players to spend more even after the initial game was already purchased. EA’s FIFA enabled this through their newest game feature, the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT). Within FUT, microtransactions let players buy FIFA points that can be used to purchase card packs in order to add better players. The more points purchased through real cash, the more chances that you have to obtain an avatar of a major player like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Another strategy that EA is using involves incorporating feedback from its users, aggregating player data, and getting in-game insights. These information are then used to further improve the game and get the players to spend more.
EA FIFA's strategy on making the game easy to play, more realistic and more time-structured enabled it to gain legions of fans from the US. It also helped that soccer is being shown on US TV network stations, thus exposing more young people to the sport.

EA SPORTS' FIFA DATA

Based on a pre-compiled list from the 2016 Sports Video Game Power Ranking, EA Sports’ FIFA series is still the highest selling video game franchise worldwide whenever a new version is released annually. In Europe specifically, FIFA 18 is the top-selling video game in 2017. It also gained the biggest revenue from post-release sales. In 2016, the estimated total revenue for FIFA is $1.76B which is 40% of the total $4.4B for EA.

EA was able to sell around 15.5 million units of the FIFA video game. Each unit earned around $121, both from the initial game release sales and from additional post-release features such as in-game purchases and the ultimate team option.
At the time that FIFA 17 was released last year, the video game has already gained 21 million players, with 12 million playing the new story mode feature, “The Journey.” Meanwhile, the FIFA Ultimate Team game option acquired 13 percent more players through the end of March 31 in the same year.
The predicted positive revenue growth of EA’s FIFA is backed by the trend of in-game transactions and subscription models that are increasingly becoming integrated to the overall gaming environment.
EA’s FIFA’s latest game feature, the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), already earned close to $800 million annually from various in-game revenues. Revenue growth is also expected to be generated from China, where soccer is starting to gain some major ground. EAs FIFA China sales is also seen to tremendously increase once China implements its 50-point development plan for its $813 billion sports industry, with focus on the soccer sport.
In the near future, EA’s FIFA yearly unit sales is expected to reach over $20 million by 2021. This will add more than $3 billion in annual revenue for EA overall. Major revenue growth driver will be the post-release features like in-game purchases and other services.
Based on the statistics above, no other game has comparable numbers, making FIFA the major leader in the customer-facing video game arena.

NBA 2K

NBA 2K is another significant global player in the consumer-facing sports gaming space globally. The video game was first launched in 1999 on the long defunct SEGA Dreamcast and now being handled by Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Like EA’s FIFA, NBA 2K also aspires for realism for its virtual game. It has also utilized existing technology to motion-capture real-life players in action in order to focus on producing an enhanced gaming experience.

NBA 2k SUCCESSES

NBA 2K ‘s success over its competitors hinged on its realistic game features showing likenesses to actual basketball stars from European, US and other global teams, including their physical quirks.
It also banks on the endorsements of major NBA players and the gaming community of NBA 2K users to further promote the game. Fan meetup, competitions, game sessions, interviews are just some events being leveraged to get more users to play the game, and further increase the company’s revenue.
Another factor that makes it more attractive to players is the personalized neighborhood feature. Under this option, a user can select their preferred roles or interests under MyCourt, MyCareer, MyGM, MyLeague and others.

NBA 2K STRATEGY

Like FIFA, NBA 2K’s strategy to be profitable involves securing official licensing from the NBA to be able to use all their trademarks, incorporate likenesses of the players into the game, and duplicate the real-world setup.
Another similar strategy involves having multiple options to increase microtransactions or add-on in-game purchases, which is a major revenue generator as well. These after-release transactions contribute to the majority of the revenue from the video game which is estimated to be two-thirds of the total 2K revenue.
The video game is also banking on the popularity of the actual game that will naturally make the fans' crossover from the actual basketball world to the virtual world. In fact, basketball players are now starting to be concerned about their game rankings. Tryouts from the real-world game is also expected to boost engagement for NBA 2K. As the physical NBA game scales up, the virtual video game is also expected to do the same.

NBA 2K DATA

NBA 2K is also considered as a major player in the consumer-facing sports gaming arena due to the distinction it holds of being the highest-rated and the highest-revenue-generating sports video game in North America. NBA 2K comes next after EA’s FIFA in terms of units sold and ranked second in the 2016 Sports Video Game Power Ranking pre-compiled list.
This basketball video game generates around $1.5 billion in annual revenue for Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.

MADDEN NFL

Madden NFL is also another key player in the consumer-facing sports gaming space in Europe and all around the globe. EA Sports also produces this game. It was named after pro-football hall-of-famer John Madden. One of its earlier versions, Madden 25, was the first to be included in the next generation of consoles, the Xbox One and PS4.

MADDEN NFL SUCCESSES

Madden NFL’s distinctive features include similarities with the actual game, including real players’ names, numbers, teams, arena setups and other features of the real football game. This is facilitated by the fact that they have obtained proper licenses from the NFL football governing body.
Another distinctive quality of the game is the availability of detailed playbooks and player statistics. There are also voice commentaries from announcers that enables players to listen to the game as if they in a real TV broadcast. Through this Longshot mode, Madden NFL is eventually acknowledging that narrative instead of technical elements, can contribute greatly to a genuine immersive experience.
Another key feature within the video game is the Madden Bowl, which is patterned after the Super Bowl. The development of this feature is highly superior as it was able to accurately predict the actual Super Bowl winners in nine out of thirteen instances.
Although Madden has been dethroned by NBA 2K as the top-selling video game sports series in North America, there’s an increasing surge of positive reviews recently. This is a result of the work of the developers who are making improvements in the video game based on what the players want.

MADDEN NFL STRATEGY

Similar to EA’s FIFA, EA also secured an exclusive deal with the NFL, cementing its legitimacy as the official NFL football video game. This helped the company gain more revenue through tie-ups with the official teams.
A new story mode called Longshot in the latest release is also designed to hook in more players, and subsequently, more revenue for Madden NFL’s company. Longshot is about the journey of a fictional would-be quarterback and players can share in his journey of through loss and grief, in life and in football.

MADDEN NFL DATA

Madden NFL took the third place in the pre-compiled list from the 2016 Sports Video Game Power Ranking data. The Madden NFL series has generated a cumulative amount of $3 billion in revenue for EA over the last three decades.

CONCLUSION

EA Sports’ FIFA, NBA 2K, and MADDEN NFL are the sports video game leaders in Europe and around the world based on the pre-compiled list from the 2016 Sports Video Game Power Ranking. These three sports video game leaders have high revenues and almost the same offerings and strategic outlook that involves licenses from official sports governing entities, virtual games with elements of the actual game, in-game football stories, and post-release microtransactions.

Part
07
of eight
Part
07

Sports Content

The major players in the customer-facing sports content space are Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, beIN SPORTS, and Goal.com. Each leader identified has detailed category information included below.

Methodology:

The Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated were the leaders selected in the consumer-facing sports content space from the U.S. The leaders found in Europe are beIN SPORTS and Goal.

Bleacher Report triumphs in the social space by focusing on original content and taking creative risks. Sports Illustrated has millions of subscribers and readers around the world, so they were selected for the U.S. as a major player.

The first European major player selected is beIN SPORTS because it has an Alexa ranking of 2,012 globally. The other major player in Europe is Goal with their 64 million football fans and extensive global reach.

Each of the major players identified below for their consumer-facing sports content space is outlined in detail.

Bleacher Report

SUCCESSES:

The 8th Annual Shorty Awards honor the Bleacher Report for their strategy outlets. eBizMBA Ranks Bleacher 138. They follow results of the best social media organizations who utilize Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, YouNow, and Musical.ly. Vine shows 5585% growth for Bleacher Report.

STRATEGY:

Bleacher Report's strategy focuses on creating creative content that engages and grabs their audience's attention rather than simply producing more content. They rely on storytelling via social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat in order to target "a young, socially-driven audience." This company aims to use social media to fill in the gap between various mainstream sports outlets. It provides their audience with real-time coverage along with "shareable, entertaining, and informative content distributed through multiple platforms." Below are a few examples of their strategy in practice.

• "The Commitment" video series featuring top high school football recruits.
• "NFL x NBA Jersey Mashups" tap into their audience's interest in uniforms and NBA logos.
• "Game of Zones" animated video spoof of HBO's Game of Thrones giving players a Westeros-style backdrop for supremacy battles.
• "Team Stream" app is top rated.

DATA:

1.8 million followers on Instagram with an average of 7,000 new followers a day and have 28.6 million views per month (633% growth).
• There were 104 million interactions and had 4.5 million fans last year on Facebook (213% growth).
• Twitter tracked 18.7 million interactions which resulted in 2.17 million fans (351% growth).
• In 2015, the “Team Stream” app surpassed 15 million downloads with an average of 230 minutes per user each month, and it ranks No. 1 with males (aged 18-34) sports apps.
• Bleacher is the No. 2 top digital sports destination. Their audience is 60 million unique, monthly visitors in 2015.
There are 482,000 YouTube subscribers who 60 million viewers of video streams in a week and totals of 328 million total plays.
The Bleacher report has an estimated 40 million unique monthly visitors. eBizMBA Rank of 138. Quantcast Rank of 34 and an Alexa Rank of 232. The "Compete Rank" is 149.
• “Snapchat Discover” has a global audience.
• Bleacher Report’s revenue for 2017 is approximately $20 million (Owler) over a three-year time frame.

Sports Illustrated (SI)

SUCCESSES:

This magazine has millions of subscribers around the entire world. Exclusive NBC Sports News channel broadcasts the "Sportsperson of the Year Award".

STRATEGY:

The "Sportsperson of the Year Award" is SI's best content strategy. Since 1954, this award has been given annually to individual athletes or teams that embody sportsmanship and achievement. This award continuously receives major attention not only from sports enthusiasts but also from a wider audience. It generates content for the brand and the buzz around the winners is reported across various other outlets as well. For the first time, in December 2017, this award ceremony was broadcast through a deal with NBCSN.

Sports Illustrated (SI) also shares website content like news, video, live scores, and articles in numerous sports venues. On Instagram, their content strategy consists of events, quotes, and in-game bloopers. The latter is shared in an informal tone to garner interest in a more relatable context.

DATA:

2017 Revenue is $10 million on Owler.
There are 3 million subscribers, and the magazine is read by 23 million people each week (18 million men).
SI has 1 million followers on Instagram.
eBizMBA ranks SI at 440.
There are approximately 20 million unique monthly visitors.
Compete Ranks them at 400.
Quantcast Rank is 480.

beIN SPORTS USA

SUCCESSES:

"The Locker Room Awards" were hosted by beIN SPORTS for the 2015/2016 La Liga season. The main website is Turkish, so research was based on the English Instagram account for translation purposes. Instagram reports beIN SPORTS is the fastest growing network in the U.S. Turkey has 35.4% of beIN SPORTS visitors and France has 18.2%.

STRATEGY:

This company's strategy centers on producing news-based content as opposed to opinion pieces. beIN SPORTS also shares live scores and engages in streaming content. Content for this brand is streamed through Directv. On Instagram, beIN SPORTS posts high-definition resolution pictures. These photos are accompanied by a caption that encourages readers to go to their website for more content. This channel covers sports like soccer, football, tennis, racing, and MotoGP, basketball, MMA, and boxing. Al Jazeera Media Network owns beIN Media Group who operates beIN SPORTS.

DATA:

beIN Sports USA Instagram account has close to 1,000 followers and 1,806 posts.
Alexa ranks beIN SPORTS at 2,012th globally.

Goal.com

SUCCESSES:

Goal owns a YouTube channel.
They are a global source of football news in a fast and accurate manner. Goal has 530 reporters on the ground in over fifty countries.

STRATEGY:

Goal's website features news, articles, opinions, and live football scores from around the world. This platform focuses strictly on football and users can download, visit, and interact with the brand through their apps, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. On YouTube, Goal publishes documentaries and interviews about footballers, clubs, fans, and social media influencers (5-50 minute videos). Their Instagram strategy utilizes a semi-formal writing style to maintain a professional brand image. Typically, they post illustrations, events, and match photos.
Goal's "Cartoon Corner" sketches from Omar Momani use weekly and daily cartoons to update followers on sporting events. This cartoon series provides a unique way for users to engage with the brand and receive sports updates.

DATA:

64 million football fans.
Owler shows 2017 estimated revenue of $19 million.
Goal has over 1.9 million followers on their Instagram account.

Conclusion:

The major players in the customer-facing sports content space are Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, beIN SPORTS, and Goal.com. Websites, blogs, and social media were the basis of how each player maintains their standing in the sports world.
Part
08
of eight
Part
08

Sports Live Viewing / Streaming

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Although there are very few publicly-available statistics to support the top/best lists of sports live-streaming sites, a wide variety of articles included the same lists of sites as top-rated among fans. These sites included: WatchESPN, Laola1.tv, StreamSports, FromHot, FirstRowSports, All Sports Live, Stream2Watch, BossCast, Ten Sports Live, StreamWoop, and Batman Stream, among others. Each of these sites offers a user-friendly interface, multiple categories of live-streams and on-demand playbacks (by sport, country, date, etc), and a large selection of streams from which to choose.

MARKET BACKGROUND

Digiday reports that, in the United States, the audience watching live sports on TV is getting older, while the younger fans are watching live sports more often through social media outlets. They note that NFL viewership is used as the “barometer of the country’s appetite for live sports,” and viewership went down in the Fall 2017 season, with the typical Sunday afternoon game audiences down 11% on Fox and 19% on CBS. They also report that, “in the UK, Premier League viewing on Sky hit a seven-year low last season, with average viewing on the broadcaster’s live channels down 14 percent year over year”.

Digiday also reports that over half (55%) of those who tuned into Twitter’s live-streamed NFL games last season were younger than 25, with a quarter of these viewers residing outside the US. On Instagram, the most popular sport to watch live is soccer, with about 146 million (21% of total) Instagrammers tuning in to watch the sport live. Additionally, they report that Facebook struck multiple live-streaming sports deals in 2017, including Mexican soccer league games and playoff games, Major League Soccer games and highlights shows, World Surf League events, CrossFit events, and the UEFA Champions League matches. All of these shows will be free to Facebook users. They also note that, in the near future, NFL live-streaming will be featured on both Facebook and Amazon.

Lastly, Digiday reports that, broadcasters (like BT, Eurosport, and Sky) are aware of the threat of social platforms, but don’t yet see them as a real threat. “Sky this year has focused on channels for specific sports, a move that should help it measure the value of those audiences when deciding what rights to renew and pursue. Meanwhile, the NFL is nurturing its own Netflix-style streaming service for all live games, some of which will also be shown on commercial broadcasters”. Their research also notes that it appears “broadcasters are increasingly falling out of love with live sports,” since the subscription models they have don’t allow them to grow their sports live-streaming business much further than its already grown. For more information on this, see the article from Digiday.

GlobalSportsJobs supports Digiday’s assertion that there is (and will be) increased live-streaming on social media channels. They discuss Twitter’s coup over other social media channels in winning the rights to Thursday night NFL game live-feeds. They also talk about Facebook’s live feeds of USA men’s and women’s basketball exhibition games and a game between Manchester United and Everton. Additionally, they discuss Instagram’s success when the channel upped its video length limitations from 15 seconds to one minute – and how “the NBA, the sports league with the most Instagram followers at 20 million, has already capitalized by posting 6-second recaps of games for the first time”. The article quotes Liz King, who is the CEO of techystalk.com. For the future of live-streaming, she states, “The key is to design a live-stream experience that drives interest in face-to-face attendance and to capture your event in unique ways. Think 360 video or photos, time lapse, and drones. These possibilities for photo and video at events are unparalleled and will really help planners create a more awesome experience for their attendees and sponsors”.
GlobalSportsJobs reports on other trends in live-streaming including those summarized below:
• Drone racing will become the “next big broadcast sport” as major global broadcasters (like ESPN, Eurosport, and Sky) have all struck deals on drone-racing competitions with the focus on attracting younger viewers.
• Internet-based streaming and OTT TV are becoming (and will continue to become) more popular than live-streaming on TV. Viewers appreciate the flexibility of accessing their sports via these methods “rather than a strict programming scheduled peppered with repeats that is provided by the traditional broadcasters”.
• VR and AR will continue to grow and will move deeper into the televised sports arena.
If you’re interested in statistics about live-streaming fan habits, this article from LiveStream will give you what you need.

MAJOR PLAYERS: GLOBAL LIVE-STREAMING SPORTS

In my research, I found many sites showing the most-watched-on-TV or most-watched -live sporting events around the world (for every year going back pretty far). However, none of these focused specifically on live-streaming, and most of the articles focused on the events only and did not mention the specific channels or avenues on which these were watched. Additionally, I found no pre-compiled lists of the best-in-class / top-rated / top-watched live-streaming sports avenues across the globe (based on statistics alone).
So, to answer your question, I searched for those live-streaming services that ranked highest on the various lists I was able to locate (related to sports-streaming). From these, I selected those that made multiple top/best lists. Each of the sources from which the items on this list came has their own methodologies for calculating the “top” or “best”. For these methodologies, please refer to each article linked. It should be noted that there appears to be no tracked statistics that provide insight into why those identified as “top/best” made the list, other than by viewer ratings.

Please note that these are not presented in any specific order.

MAJOR PLAYER: WATCHESPN

SUCCESSES: Medium reports that ESPN “has stood the test of time and still remains the most-viewed and highest-revenue generated platform among sports media companies”. Statista notes that, on a given week in Spring 2017, nearly 62 million viewers tuned into ESPN to watch live sporting events. It should be noted that Fortune reports that the sports channel has lost around 12 million subscribers since the year 2011, and so they are focusing much-more heavily on their digital offerings to offset these losses. Viewers most appreciate the well-known and trusted brand of ESPN, being able to access the content they want anytime/anywhere via a variety of media channels, and the large amount of live-streamed and on-demand replay events offered by the channel.
STRATEGIES: Medium reports that, in early 2017, ESPN laid off over 100 writers and on-air personalities in order to adjust their future-focused strategies to be more in-line with what their viewership wants, as well as to meet the changing needs of the sports-viewing industry. Their strategies for the current/near-future include: Changing their content to meet changing consumer viewing habits; making greater investments in new technologies like multimedia platforms, multi-camera set-ups for live events, and a new-and-enhanced digital studio; gearing their TV segments toward debate and analysis while focusing their digital media on sports news and highlights shows; doubling down on specific sports coverage (“basketball, college football, NFL, and tennis coverage”); and investing greater amounts on original, long-form sports-related stories. To get an in-depth look at each of these strategies, check out the article from Medium.
DATA: This avenue made every list I found as one of the top global live-streaming sports avenues, including ChillGlobal, DigitalSEOGuide, GeeksWizard, and SGuru. AwfulAnnouncing reports that, in late 2017, ESPN changed the way they report their Nielsen viewership numbers. Previously, they had separated totals of those who watched on TV and those who watched via their phones or computers. Now, however, they are combining those totals into one overall watch-count-total. The article notes that, “The change represents an attempt to better convey to advertisers how many people watch ESPN events. Reporting total viewers should help ESPN maximize the audience it gets credit for, while presenting itself as popular with younger viewers, who are more likely to watch online or on mobile devices”. Coverage of the US Open (Aug-Sept 2017) “averaged a total live audience of 968,000 viewers, up 8% over 2016,” according to AwfulAnnouncing. They also report a total live audience of 1.9 million viewers for the women’s final of the US Open, “the most for the women’s final in ESPN’s three years televising the entire tournament”. Additionally, they note that the Lions-Giants NFL game had a total live audience of nearly 13 million viewers.

MAJOR PLAYER: LAOLA1.TV

SUCCESSES: According to their website, “Laola1 has become one of the largest and most established digital service providers for users within the sports and business world”. They also report that their “full-service offer and in-depth know-how” has earned them the title of “number one multimedia-service provider within the sports entertainment branch”. They are one of the biggest in Europe, and especially within German-speaking countries.
STRATEGIES: Laola1 partners with their in-house media production company (Unas Media Productions) to provide the highest-quality live-streaming services to their customers. They provide a large quantity of live-streamed events “as well as on-demand full matches, highlight videos, and background reports,” easily making the channel a favorite of their viewers. They offer live-streamed events via desktop, smart-TV, smartphone, tablet, and will soon be offering live-streamed events via gaming consoles, so it’s easy for viewers to watch how they want to watch. They offer the most-popular sports in Europe via live-stream, including soccer (football), volleyball, ice hockey, motorsports, and more. No information could be found on how they rate versus their competitors.
DATA: This avenue made every list I found as one of the top global live-streaming sports avenues, including ChillGlobal, DigitalSEOGuide, GeeksWizard, and SGuru. SimilarWeb notes that their site has reached over 1.86 million visitors in the last six months alone from 253 countries around the world. Their highest number of viewers comes from Germany (just over 23% of total viewership).

MAJOR PLAYER: STREAMSPORTS

SUCCESSES: I could find no information about any awards or accolades for this company, nor could I find any viewer-ratings statistics on what makes them so popular. It is unclear why this site made so many top/best lists, other than the fact of what it offers (for free) as compared to what its competitors offer.
STRATEGIES: This avenue offers a wide variety of live-stream events from all over the world featuring a large selection of sports absolutely free to viewers. To be honest, their site offers the longest list of sporting events of any researched, including such variety as the Myanmar Open (Asia), the Taekwondo World Cup 2018, Japanese Premier League Volleyball, African Handball Championships, and Indian-League Soccer, so it’s easy to see why they’re a fan-favorite. Viewers can search the site for live streams by sport, league, or country. DigitalSEOGuide notes that one of the differentiators of this site is that is doesn’t have ads or links to ads/vendors on its site, which makes it much more enjoyable for viewers to watch.
DATA: This avenue made every list I found as one of the top global live-streaming sports avenues, including ChillGlobal, DigitalSEOGuide, GeeksWizard, and SGuru. DigitalSEOGuide notes that, although the site is fairly new, it has attracted a huge following, though specific numbers were not available.

MAJOR PLAYER: FROMHOT

SUCCESSES: I could find no information about any awards or accolades for this company, nor could I find any viewer-ratings statistics on what makes them so popular. It is unclear why this site made so many top/best lists, other than the fact that it (and its sister sites) offers such a wide variety of live-streaming events.
STRATEGIES: DigitalSEOGuide notes that this site is “one of the most significant, finest, and simplest websites for live streaming sports” available today. They also report that the site’s major disadvantage is that it shows too many ads too often (as they are embedded within the site), which would make it less-favorable among viewers. GeeksWizard notes that the site has a very simple interface that allows viewers to select from a large selection of sports categories, and that the site is best for newbies to live-streaming sports. This site is part of a collection including sportlemon.tv, fromsport, gledaisport, smotrisport, frombar.tv, and fromhot.com. It offers live streaming and video-watching from sports all over the world, including such variety as the HSBC World Sevens Series from Australia, the TT Cup (table tennis), World Cup Alpine Skiing from Switzerland, and the British Diving Championships.
DATA: This avenue made every list I found as one of the top global live-streaming sports avenues, including ChillGlobal, DigitalSEOGuide, GeeksWizard, and SGuru. SimilarWeb reports that the site received 2.53 million visitors in the last six months with viewers from 254 countries. Their highest numbers of viewers came from France, Greece, and Germany.

ADDITIONAL MAJOR PLAYERS

Additionally, the following live-streaming avenues also made multiple top/best lists:
• First Row Sports
• All Sports Live
• Stream2Watch
• BossCast
• Ten Sports Live
• StreamWoop
• Batman Stream

If you would like Wonder to provide similar analyses on these live-streaming avenues, just let us know and we’ll be happy to do so.

SUMMARY

The top/best live-streaming sports sites include those offering extensive collections of streaming events from a wide variety of sports from across the globe. Most offer very few (or no) advertisements as well as user-friendly interfaces.
Sources
Sources

From Part 05
From Part 07