SportBusiness Group, a London-based news, analysis and data provider covering the global sports business industry, has expanded business operations to the U.S.; establishing a physical presence within the Americas for the first time. Already counting ESPN, IMG and the NBA as clients, the newly established Miami office will focus on the distribution of in-depth intelligence to clients across the biggest international sports market. JohnWallStreet had the chance to ask CEO Ben Speight about why the company decided to open a U.S. office, the focus of their news publication and where their expertise lies.
JWS: SportBusiness’ expertise has traditionally been on European media right holders. Why did you guys make the decision to expand operations across the Atlantic?
Ben: Our mission has always been to provide best-in-class information, on the best business strategies and business models being used within the sports industry. If we want to provide the richest most valuable insight to our clients then we need to be in as many corners of the industry, to be finding out better information and intelligence; hence, why we opened in the Americas. We need to be on the ground gathering that information, both for our European clients who continue to look at the U.S. because it is undoubtedly the world’s biggest sports market; but, I think increasingly the U.S. market is open minded to look at the what the top European rights holders are doing in terms of monetizing their fans. Whether that be through broadcast rights, sponsorship rights, ticketing or stadium activations. So, what we’re trying to do is be the first information publisher within the sports industry, to have the broadest and most valuable set of case studies, business intelligence and data.
JWS: SportBusiness International is your news publication. Who does it target? What sectors of the industry does it cover?
Ben: It serves rights holders, agencies, broadcasters, sponsors and stadium companies. We’re generalists in that we look at a broad range of sectors within the sports industry and developments within those sectors.
JWS: Is there a sector where the company excels?
Ben: We have specialties in media rights (broadcast rights) and sponsorship rights. We collect data on those 2 sectors, so executives who are working in those industries have the business-critical information necessary to make deals and to extract more information. The data products are geared towards rights holders and agencies. The evolution of our business has us moving away from news and more into data.
Howie Long-Short: SportBusiness Group was acquired by Riccardo Silva’s investment firm (Silva International Investments) in August 2017, joining a portfolio that includes; The Miami FC (MLS) and MP & Silva (owns, manages and distributes media rights). In December 2017, the company invested in Globe Soccer; the company that owns the rights to the annual Globe soccer awards in Dubai.
Fan Marino: Need data to prove that the U.S. is in fact the biggest international sports market? The worldwide sports media rights market is valued at $49.5 billion. U.S. rights holders take in 36% ($18 billion) of that total, with the NFL ($7.3 billion), NBA ($3.9 billion) and MLB ($3.4 billion) regarded as 3 of the 4 most valuable sports media properties in the world. The English Premier League ($4.5 billion) is the only non-U.S. based sports media property generating more than $3 billion/year in revenue. For reference purposes, the Champions League, La Liga and Serie A bring in $2.2 billion, $1.9 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively.
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