Premier League football could become D2C in Asia at some point in the coming years, according to Richard Masters, CEO of one of the world’s most lucrative sports leagues.
Speaking yesterday at APOS 2022, Masters said there were “tight opportunities in Asia to move to D2C if we choose to do so”, although current broadcast contracts, which were recently renewed, will have to expire, which will take at least three years.
Masters said these D2C conversations were happening in the region before the pandemic “on an experimental basis.”
“Four years ago we were talking about the prospect of the Premier League going D2C in some markets, but the pandemic has changed everyone’s plans and we’re now under contract for three years in some places and six in many. “, he added. “It will be a long journey, but you will see sports rights holders honing their skills, understanding how to build relationships. We have to rely on expertise.
Streamers are also impacting the market in Asia, with many now holding rights across the country, including Disney+ Hotstar in India.
Masters sees a “mix of pay-TV operators and streamers” as future Premier League broadcasters on the continent.
He pointed to the huge popularity of the Premier League in Asia, with 30% of the general population interested in the league at some level. “It’s extraordinary and we are never complacent,” he added. Meanwhile, “extraordinary” growth has taken place in the United States, where nearly half of the interest has come in the past two years, helped by coverage on NBC.
In Asia, Masters recently oversaw the opening of an office in Singapore, the Premier League’s first outside the UK. This office focuses on monitoring sport in the region, as well as piracy.
On the latter, Masters said, “We put many people behind bars and stopped many illegal streams. We need to work with local police and regulators to help with this and try to educate the fans. Ultimately, hacking becomes bad for the club they support and the sport they love.