Many have been proclaiming that the days of television will soon come to an end. They harp on this notion that live sports are the only thing allowing broadcast television to remain on air. While this is far from being true, new data does, in fact, suggest that sports are accounting for an increasing percentage of the industry’s sales.
Kantar media recently released a report that shows thats sports oriented programming generated upwards of $8 billion across NBC, Fox, ABC, and CBS from 2014 to 2015. This number accounts for more than a third, (37%), of these networks’ total revenue over those years. This $8.47 billion is a marked increase from 2010 when live sports generated less than $6.5 billion for the big four networks.
According to the report, CBS accounted for nearly $3 billion of this, an eleven percent increase from their number last year. Fox and NBC finished second and third, respectively. ABC, which is the only network amongst these four that doesn’t broadcast NFL games, raked in about $1 billion. However, it should be noted that the Walt Disney Company owns both ABC and ESPN. Last year, ESPN sold more than $2.4 billion in ads.
The largest spenders for sports broadcasts include companies in the Auto, Telecom, and Beer industries. Chevrolet, Budweiser, Verizon and Geico were the four largest spenders last year, each shelling out upwards of $250 million according to the report.
Of the fifty most watched broadcasts of the last year, forty-five of these were NFL matches, twenty-four of which did not even take place during primetime. That stat alone demonstrates the NFL’s dominant position amongst US sports.
These numbers really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who keeps up with the industry. Beyond that of a few award shows and highly successful dramas, sports programming is the only segment that almost always attracts a huge live-audience.