With the support of the DFL: Publication of a study on the future of media production in sport

Photo: Imago/Daniel Kopatsch

Today saw the publication of “Top-Tier Sports Product and its Production in 2030”, a report based on a study by WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and supported by DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga as well as AWS Amazon Web Services. Around 40 pages long, the report contains the views of 99 international experts on predictions for media production and use in sport in 2030.

Here is a selection of its key findings:

  • A clear trend towards further personalisation is expected. Experts believe that by 2030, younger audiences in particular will prefer the opportunity to influence the displayed content themselves over passive media consumption.
  • Following individual preferences, algorithms will help to automatically focus sports broadcasts on the content that interests each viewer.
  • Artificial intelligence will assume a key role in media production, such as the automated control of cameras. In addition, advancing digitalisation and automation will enable the planning of efficient logistics and make production increasingly less location-dependent and more decentralised.
  • The incorporation of live data is becoming ever more important – especially if the data is available on a context-specific basis, is displayed in understandable fashion and caters for individual interests.
  • An increase in mobile consumption is expected, prompting greater demand for vertical (“9:16”) formats, particularly for short-form content with a video length of no more than 30 seconds. This in turn will have a direct impact on the cameras used in production.
  • Virtual worlds will continue to become more relevant – by 2030, an increasing proportion of viewers will want to experience sports broadcasts in a purely virtual environment. In particular, younger generations are keen to get ever closer to the action, primarily through immersive sports broadcasts.

Background to the study

The WHU’s Center for Sports and Management (CSM) used the Delphi method for the study: the experts’ opinions on 25 forward-looking statements, or projections, were evaluated on the basis of systematic surveys. Each of the experts selected work in media, production, sports consulting and technology, and at sports associations, clubs and leagues.

“Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches are among Germany’s most valuable media content.

Dr Steffen Merkel, member of the Management Board of DFL GmbH and Executive Vice-President Audiovisual Rights

Prof. Sascha L. Schmidt, chairholder and academic director of the CSM and a co-author of the study, gave the following summary: “Social changes and technical innovations are likely to exert a major influence on the media product of elite sport in the future. There is a clear trend towards more active control and intensification of the sports experience by viewers. Artificial intelligence is making production and the related logistics more automated and resource-efficient.”

The findings are of great interest to the DFL, which supported the study financially and by contributing its expertise. Dr Steffen Merkel, member of the Management Board of DFL GmbH and Executive Vice-President Audiovisual Rights, explained: “Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches are among Germany’s most valuable media content. We need to keep on enhancing our media offerings and their production in order to meet the requirements of football fans and our media partners. The new WHU study gives us valuable impetus for devising high-quality, contemporary and successful media offerings for all generations. It also shows that we are focusing on the right innovation areas, as we are already working intensively on much of what the study predicts for the future.”

Here you can download the report:

Here you can find the publication of the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management on the study.