Asia is the fastest growing sports market in the world, driven by eSports and live streaming, according to experts at a recent Nielsen conference.
According to media measurement firm, this year, the relationship between sport and society is changing faster than ever, and staying on top of that change has become even more important. Equality, diversity, gender, race, sexuality and the environment, among other issues, are dominating the media and having an impact on every part of the sports business.
Glenn Lovett, global managing director, Nielsen sports further emphasized on how eSports is becoming a top priority for publishers, brands, media and traditional sports and how creative content will be key for successful eSports sponsorships.
Panelists Dan Neary, vice president, APAC, Facebook, Gautam Anand, managing director, YouTube, APAC, Vachara Vacharaphol, CEO, Thairath TV and Italo Zanzi, executive vice president and managing director, Fox Sports APAC and ME discussed about how sports is disrupting the emerging market's media scene.
Dan Neary highlighted how Facebook's goal is to build experience and connect people with what they want. He said: "We are seeing a couple of things play out. One is mobile and the second is OTT. Asia currently is the most digital savvy region. Digital currently is being driven by mobile. Therefore, how do we best design the experiences for sports fans and athletes? How to leverage that for people to connect?
"Facebook is already personalised as the users have their own wall and can choose the stories they want to share with others. Live events have also become a big thing in Asia and people are communicating in different ways. Our job is to enhance and make that experience more efficient. It’s not the event itself but to go behind the scenes."
Facebook's been investing in senior sports talent globally, as it looks to beef up its sports content. Facebook earlier appointed Rhys Beer as head of sports partnerships in Europe, and Peter Hutton as director of global live sports partnerships. It recently named Joyee Biswas as APAC sports partnership head.
For Facebook, APAC is one of the biggest audience. Especially India, which now has Facebook's largest share of users in Asia Pacific and it recently made its biggest bid of $600m to secure digital rights for the IPL but failed.
Youtube's Gautam Anand emphasized on how sports has become one of the key verticals for YouTube. According to him, the platform has some big livestreaming partnerships but it still needs to do a 'better job' in promoting them.
He said: "APAC is currently the fastest growing market and a digital and mobile first market as well. It is important for sports properties to experiment with livestreams. Local sports should be exposed to a global audience."
He also cited examples of how MLS team LAFC partnered with YouTube TV as both its jersey-front sponsor and local English-language broadcaster and how YouTube will livestream the Champions League final in the UK.