Sports: the most lucrative form of entertainment

Films, music, video games – these are all insanely popular forms of entertainment today. And they are accessible, too, even if concert venues and movie theatres are shut down, thanks to the wide reach of internet streaming. Each of these industries has yearly revenues of hundreds of billions of dollars… but it pales in comparison with the biggest entertainment business ever invented, sports.

A game of a trillion

Plunkett Research estimates that the value of the global sports “industry” reached $1.8 trillion in 2018. This, of course, covers everything related to sports. About one-third of this total revenue is directly related to sports, while the rest is generated by connected industries covering everything from the manufacture of footwear to the ads aired on TV during events.

A global following

Sports are, without a doubt, the form of entertainment with the most dedicated fans and following. And within it, the most followed sport is football. Almost every country in the world has a national football team – except for the Marshall Islands, which only has semi-professional football clubs – and a local football league. These local clubs and national teams compete in regional and global leagues, major tournaments organized yearly or every four years.

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Revenue streams

The global sports industry generates revenues in a variety of ways – both directly and indirectly. To stick with the example of football, the clubs pocket revenues from ticket sales for their matches – the more popular a club, the bigger live audience their matches attract.

Sports: the most lucrative form of entertainment
Sports: the most lucrative form of entertainment. Spectators at a UCL match between Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Then there are the sponsorship deals – players routinely wear company logos ranging from airlines to the Betway sports betting website on their shirts. Then, there are the broadcast and streaming rights that are sold to TV channels for often fabulous amounts – there are entire TV channels dedicated to sports in the offer of every single broadcast company, including Disney (it owns the ESPN network that is present in pretty much every market in the world).

Not to mention the production and sale of apparel, another lucrative branch of the sports industry. Fans around the world buy and wear team jerseys and shorts, often bearing the logos of sponsors like Betway and other companies themselves, and sportswear with the same brand as their idols.

The most lucrative branch of the entertainment industry

There is no doubt, sports is the most lucrative branch of the entertainment industry. Even if we don’t count the many connected businesses, sports generate way more revenue than movies, music, and video games combined.

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About The Author


Obinna is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up loving comic book characters and superheroes. He watches lots of action films and writes entertainment and technology articles. He is also interested in science and how things work.

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