Spotify’s sports content continues to grow, New Jersey sets another betting record, Tencent takes over game streaming in China, and sports media loans are distressed.
Spotify’s Sports Growth
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Spotify’s sports podcast content has tripled in the past 18 months, solidifying the streaming service’s recent dedication to the space. There are more than 800,000 hours of sports content streamed each day.
With over 100,000 sports podcasts on Spotify, there’s been a 30% increase in listeners in the category during the pandemic. Global soccer fans have proven themselves to be among the largest consumers of the new content, with 40,000 playlists featuring the word “football” being created in the last three months.
In major soccer markets like Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Spotify found that a majority of fans miss the sounds of packed games, with a third of them using soccer songs and anthems to recreate the ambience. Real Madrid’s anthem “Hala Madrid” has seen a 64% boost in recent searches.
Another Broken Betting Record
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey bettors wagered $748.6 million in September, 12.1% higher than August and up 68% year-over-year. This marks the second straight month the Garden State has set an all-time record.
August was a perfect storm for betting with multiple sports resuming action, while September added in the juggernaut that is the NFL. The “other” category led bets, totaling $208.3 million — likely because of the Stanley Cup Final. Football made up 21.6% of total bets.
Sports Betting Headlines:
Turner has partnered with FanDuel to be its exclusive sportsbook partner for NBA programming, while the network also partnered with DraftKings to be its exclusive sportsbook for all other sports programming.
William Hill provided a first look at its permanent sportsbook space at Washington D.C.’s Capital One Arena.
Four-time Olympian and Sports Innovation Lab CEO Angela Ruggiero was named to theScore’s Board of Directors.
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Tencent’s Streaming Play
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Tencent’s esports focus is getting a new boost as two Chinese streaming platforms are merging to create a $10 billion giant. Huya and Douyu — similar platforms to Amazon’s Twitch — capture a combined 80% of China’s game streaming market.
With major shares in both companies, Tencent will have more than two-thirds of voting rights following the merger. Both Huya and Douyu’s revenues have grown more than 40% this year — largely from users buying virtual gifts for their favorite streamers.
This deal further solidifies Tencent’s push into esports in an increasingly global industry. Tencent has major stakes in a variety of video game companies, including owning Los Angeles-based Riot Games and holding a 40% position in North Carolina-based Epic Games.
Game Streaming Platforms:
Huya — 168.5 million monthly users
Douyu — 165.3 million users
Twitch — More than 140 million users
Distressed Debt Grows
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Media companies are struggling with debt, with distressed media debt growing seven times since March. As of Oct. 9, distressed bonds and loans reached a whopping $13.6 billion.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Diamond Sports now tops the list of issuers with the most distressed debt levels — that haven’t filed for bankruptcy — with $8.1 billion. As live events hamstrung the TV advertising market, the lack of revenue hit debt payments hard.
Travel and entertainment currently carries a high default risk according to S&P Global Ratings, which includes media. The U.S. has 56% of the global media and entertainment weakest links.
Industries With Biggest Increase in Distressed Bonds and Loans:
Media — $1.9 billion in March; $13.6 billion in October
Health Services — $4.8 billion in March; $13.5 billion in October
Retail — $16.8 billion in March; $22.7 billion in October
Venues Using Mobile Ordering to Adapt to New Landscape
Kevin Anderson, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Appetize, spoke with Front Office Sports on how the company has been able to help their venue partners understand how they need to modify their strategies to eliminate unnecessary physical contact between fans and venue staff as well other fans.
Read on to learn how Anderson and Appetize plan to continue to bring a number of solutions to venues that will keep fans happy, safe, and well-fed.
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