Sports industry – time to refocus?

PwC’s Sports Survey 2019

In its fourth edition, PwC’s Sports Survey collected the views of 580 industry leaders coming from 49 countries on growth expectations and a wide range of strategic and organisational topics. While assessing the overall state of the industry, this year’s edition zones in on three important themes: the need for innovation within established sports organisations, the value of direct-to-consumer media distribution and the role of sports federations going forward.

Sports industry leaders expect the sector’s growth to continue at a healthy annual rate of 6.4% in the next 3-5 years, albeit below the 7.4% seen in the past 3-5 years. Interestingly, compared to last year, in this years’ edition respondents foresee for the next 3-5 years slightly lower growth rates overall and across revenue streams. We interpret this as a sign of concern and uncertainty around the business impact of changing consumption behaviour of younger generations.

A great number of rights owners, and in particular sports federations, are in need of transforming the way they do business. While different players will be at different stages of progress on this long journey, we hope that the insights in this report are indicative of how to refocus the efforts to effect the changes needed for their organisations to flourish.

David Dellea, Head of PwC’s Sports Business Advisory

An industry playing catch up

While 94 per cent of all sport leaders worldwide recognise the importance of transformation and innovation, just 47 per cent are implementing concrete innovation strategies. Sport organisations will need to refocus on the right combination of enabling structures, processes and people to make this happen and remain relevant in an increasingly competitive and disrupted industry.

Time to get “Direct-to-customer” right

The respondents of the survey tell that direct-to-consumer distribution is tricky business and has been commercially underwhelming to date. Those that are able to build direct fan relationships and develop an intimate understanding of their audience, be it through “Direct-to-Customer” streaming or other means, will be well placed to succeed in the future.


Sports federations are on a path to self-improvement

The findings also show that there is still a lot of work to do for sports federations to continue playing a central role in the governance and development of their sports. To do so, they should establish focussed strategies, innovate formats and rules, broaden their reach and turn to partnerships to ensure they have the right capabilities on hand to deliver.

Source: PwC Analysis, N=524

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