French CSA reports on online sports market and consumption

posted on 02 April, 2020   (public)

While the online sport offer does not yet jeopardize traditional TV broadcasters, the current environment provides a fertile ground for expansion

On 31 March 2020, the CSA and the HADOPI (the Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la Protection des droits d'auteur sur Internet – the Authority for the protection of the Intellectual Property on the Internet) released a report on the market and consumption of online sport in France.

This report, which is based on a quantitative approach, aims to compare OTT offers with those of traditional TV broadcasters, to anticipate trends and markets prospects and to assess the impact of this market on online piracy. The report draws a clearer picture on the market of online sports in France and in Europe:

What are the key actors of the market and their business strategy?

There are as many types of actors as there are types of offers:

  • Traditional TV broadcasters: catch-up services to adapt their services to the shift in consumption with the aim to complement their linear offer and to increase the prominence of their brands;
  • Pure players: 100% sport offers (such as DAZN or Eleven Sports), focus on niche products or sport competitions which are not broadcast in the geographical zone;   
  • Platforms and social networks: services offering essentially short promotion videos or documentaries on the world of sports. However, the interest in sports is increasing, as demonstrated for instance with the acquisition by Amazon of exclusive broadcasting rights for matches of the French tennis Open for three years (from 2021).
  • Sports’ rights holders (sport federations): launch of own OTT services, as exemplified by some football leagues in Italy and Spain and the UEFA, to increase their popularity and the visibility of content not broadcast by TV channels.

Most of the offers are pay offers or free with premium options at extra costs. However, it seems that the pay per view model is not suitable for  such content.

What is the weight of online offers on the sport broadcasting market?

  • A low penetration rate: In France at least, online sport still suffers from a low visibility from the audience (only 26% of Internet users are aware of the pure players sport offers) and among the 24% of subscribers to a sport offer, only 8% have subscribed to an OTT offer. The majority of subscribers are less than 35 years old and 90% of them also watch the content on an alternative screen (computer, tablet, smartphone..). The current market penetration rate of OTT offer just reaches 3%.
  • A high rate of piracy: The online sport market also suffers from a high level of illegal (17% of Internet users have used illegal means to access sport content online over the last 12 months).
  • The main obstacle observed in the report is the low quality of the online offers, in terms of quality of image but also regarding the diversity and quality of content. This lack of quality makes the price, however lower than the traditional offers, too expensive. Moreover, the content is still too sparse among too many separate offers.  

Is there a potential for growth of online sport offers?

  • The main obstacles, as mentioned above, are also the main levers for development, as quality and prices are likely to improve in the near future.
  • The mobility allowed by such offers is also an attractive factor for the users, such offers being mostly used on alternative screens. Furthermore, sport online broadcasting remains an important field for illegal streaming and OTT offers might help reduce piracy activity.


Even though sport online broadcasting offers are still struggling to establish their position on the market, the emergence of specific offers, the improvement of the digital capacities and the pressure to fight piracy provide favourable conditions for this industry to grow.


La diffusion de sport sur internet : un marché et des usages en développement. Étude conjointe menée par le CSA et l’Hadopi [FR]

Further EPRA background: Premium Sports' rights was on the agenda of the 49th EPRA meeting in Sarajevo in May 2019.

Source: CSA