Sports

'Huge pent-up desire' for live sports could turn into an oversupply later this year, analyst says

Key Points
  • With live sporting events canceled and postponed in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus, there is "pent up demand" for live sports broadcasts, said David Lampitt of Sportradar.
  • There's a "huge pent-up desire" for live sports, but there will likely be an oversupply in the second half of the year, he said.
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There is 'pent-up demand' for live sports content amid the pandemic

With live sporting events canceled and postponed in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus, there is "pent up demand" for live sports broadcasts, a sports data analytics company told CNBC.

Mass gatherings have been banned during the global pandemic that has killed at least 302,468 people and sickened more than 4.4 million worldwide.

While matches can't be watched in person for now, there's still "huge pent-up desire" for live sports, said David Lampitt, managing director of sports partnerships at Sportradar. "There's pent-up demand from the last two months of just, the lack of action."

Fans can now tune in online as games gradually restart in empty stadiums. Germany's Bundesliga soccer league will resume this weekend, while South Korea's K League started holding matches last week. 

Cardboard cut-outs of fans of Bundesliga club Borussia Moenchengladbach fill their stadium on May 14, 2020 in Moenchengladbach, Germany.
Christian Verheyen | Borussia Moenchengladbach | Getty Images

"I think initially ... we'll see some incredible viewing figures," Lampitt said. "That's something that we've seen with the K League."

Content from the league has been distributed in 37 countries, which was not expected, he said, adding that there has been "extraordinary demand" across Europe, China and Australasia.

Matches by other major sports leagues still hang in the balance for now, but Lampitt predicts an "oversupply of live content" in the third and fourth quarters of 2020, though he acknowledges that is "subject to any second waves or third waves of the coronavirus."

"There will be a … huge supply of live sport compressed into that second half of the year," he said. "It's going to be interesting to see how all of those sporting events compete with one another at that point."

Unprecedented impact

Lampitt also weighed in on the impact of the outbreak on the sports industry.

An article by sports marketing firm Two Circles said in April that nearly 50% of 2020's scheduled sporting events will still take place this year. It also estimated that around $73.7 billion of revenue will be generated, more than $60 billion less than originally anticipated.

"It has been an unprecedented impact and I think that impact will be felt across the year," he said.