3 min read

Sport Generated $3.2 Billion From Digital Assets In 2021


A new report from digital asset platform, Horizm, has found the world’s top sporting leagues generated more than €2.2 billion (AUD$3.2 billion) in value directly from digital assets across 2021.

The ‘Digital Value of Fans 2022’ annual report analysed the digital performance of all teams across the English Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, IPL, and Formula One across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube throughout 2022.

The English Premier League recorded the biggest total digital asset value of any competition, with €613 million (AUD$900 million) in value, followed by LaLiga with a value of €337 million (AUD$496.5 million) and the NBA with a value of €237 million (AUD$349 million), in second and third place respectively.

The English Premier League, however, had a higher value than LaLiga and the NBA combined, with Europe’s ‘Big Five’ of football combining for over 50% of the total value, with the US big leagues accounting for 30%.

At the club level, English Premier League’s Manchester United created more than €200 million (AUD$294 million) in digital asset value, leading all other clubs, which Horizm reported was largely due to the club signing superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the world’s most followed person on Instagram.

Next in total value at the club level was FC Barcelona, who had a total digital asset value of €177 million (AUD$260.7 million), and Real Madrid with a total digital asset value of €114 million (AUD$167.9 million).

For clubs, PSG in Ligue 1 saw the largest year on year growth, with their digital following increasing by 28.7 million in 2021, which is largely due to the signing of superstar, Lionel Messi.

Through the process of dividing inventory value by audience size, Horizm also provides data indicating each leagues’ value per fan, with the NHL ranking as the most efficient at generating value from its audience with a value per fan of €1.10, just ahead of the IPL with a value per fan of €1.07, and the NFL with a value per fan of €0.96.

Rounding out the top five for value per fan is Formula One in fourth with a value per fan of €0.88, and LaLiga in fifth place with a value per fan of €0.85.

Discussing the implications for the report, Horizm CEO, Pedro Mestriner, said: “Our report shows that the digital channels of elite sport are a multi-billion-dollar opportunity; one that, increasingly, we are seeing right holders and brands looking to embrace.”

“The growing digital audiences of teams and leagues represent a huge well of revenue potential, one that is still largely untapped and for sponsors, looking for greater ROI on their investments, digital sports content offers them much higher levels of engagement compared with standard content – engagement they are now able to secure outside the confines of traditional sponsorship agreements,” Mestriner said.

It's free to join the team!

Join the most engaged community in the Sports Business World.

Get all the latest news, insights, data, education and event updates.