Arnaud Simon Masterclass take-aways @SIS Latin America

Take aways from the Masterclass delivered by Arnaud Simon at Sport Innovation Society Latin America Written by Arnaud Drijard

During our first day at #SISMasterClass2020 last Wednesday, one of our experts speakers was Arnaud Simon, CEO In & Out Stories (former Eurosport France CEO, leadership at Discovery Eurosport...). And we spoke together about sports consumption, interest and how to change the narrative of sports events. Let me share with you some conclusions and thoughts that might be relevant to you.

Most sports fanbase average is aging, and a lot. Only 25% of Gen Z (13 to 33 years old) will watch traditional sports live once a week when it is around 50% for millenniums. There is a decrease in interest to watch sports live, not necessarily sport since there are new formats that are interesting a lot. A great paradox is therefore existing. Live has been a pillar of sports business economy, with top sport events gathering billions of dollars from broadcasters. But audiences, in most cases are going down (COVID increased the pace). On the opposite, non live is growing: highlights and short form content, followed by team / athletes generated content, and original content / documentaries, as PWC Sports Survey explains. But those growing media content types represent only a very short part of the incomes pie of sports organizations.

Is live dead? Live is not dead but is not as powerful as it used to be, it is not enough. “The sports industry has been living the last three decades on two fundamentals: live and TV…suddenly, in three- or four-year’s time, live is just part of the story, and TV is not the heart of tomorrow’s business model, your digital destination will be… this is a whole ecosystem you need to create”, mentioned Arnaud Simon. “When you produce live content, you only please your existing fans. That will not help you grab new fans; you need to find new ways of telling stories where potential new fans are”. One challenge is to use smartly non-live, and the other challenge is how to use in a better way live to improve the experience.

Premium right holders (most popular properties such as top football leagues, NBA, NFL…) are in a position to use all possibilities, from cherishing tradionnal media rights while creating their own digital destination. If you are not one of those global or leading properties, which is the case for more than 80% of sports organizations, clearly the path is offering direct-to-consumer digital proposition, since your business will depend on your relations with your fans. “Most likely, there will be a curve with some destruction of value for some time, like what happened in music, but it is needed to recreate value for the future”.

That means there will be lots of digital destinations, lots of OTTs…and what about the audience? Is the audience going to get lost with so much OTT offers? According to Arnaud Simon, there are three major lessons to take from music industry:

  • Flexibility: when it comes to offers and prices
  • Affinity: don’t ask fans to pay for something people don’t want (such as cable model, where you use a few channels of the whole package). Example: "don’t ask me to pay for the whole league if I want to watch only my team "
  • One-stop-shopping: fans want to be able to watch their favorite sports moments on one platform “The way people want to consume sports will win in the end”, sports & media stakeholders have to adapt.

A lot more has been said during this SIS Master Class with Arnaud Simon, and one clear conclusion is the need for changing the narrative of major sporting events, create digital destinations matching the codes of new generations. To know more about this topic, as well as the many other topics we raise during #SISMasterClass2020, I invite you to register. You will have access not only to the 5 next weeks program (experts from Bundesliga, FIFA, FIBA, Paris 2024, NFL, MLB, Facebook, Caliente,...), but also past week sessions on demand as a member. Information and registration here (only 40USD), but be aware, most content is in Spanish since it is firstly made for Latin American market:
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