Global sports market to hit $141 billion in 2012

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Spending related to large sporting events such as the Olympics and World Cup will boost revenue in the global sports market by 37 percent over the next five years to almost $141 billion, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Members of the Boston Celtics past and present celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers and winning the NBA Championship after Game 6 of the NBA Finals basketball championship in Boston, June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Growing broadcast rights deals, and mobile and Internet spending will help drive the expected compound annual growth rate of 6.5 percent from 2008 through 2012, the report by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said. That is comparable to the 6.4 percent rate seen from 2003 through 2007.

National sporting events also will boost revenue as companies look to align themselves with sports that draw consumer attention, PwC said. It cited international cricket rights boosting growth in Asia Pacific as an example.

The strongest growth will be seen in the Europe, Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific regions, all of which are expected to see annual growth in the range of 6.5 percent to 7.1 percent, the report said.

U.S. and Canadian markets’ annual growth are pegged at 6.1 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively, PwC said.

Major events that will drive expected growth include the Olympic games in Beijing in August, in Vancouver in 2010 and in London in 2012, as well as soccer’s World Cup in South Africa in 2010, the report said.

The next three Olympic games are expected to generate TV rights fees worth a combined $2.91 billion in the United States alone, PwC said.

Global revenue growth is projected to be strongest in Olympic years. PwC projected growth will hit 11.4 percent in 2008, 11.2 percent in 2010 and 9.9 percent in 2012, compared with growth of 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

The U.S. market accounts for the biggest piece of the pie, as sports revenue there is expected to hit almost $69.1 billion in 2012, compared with $46.9 billion in Europe, Middle East and Africa, PwC said. Revenue in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Canada are expected to reach $19.4 billion, $3.9 billion and 1.3 billion, respectively.

In the United States, gate revenue is expected to grow almost 35 percent to $24.5 billion from 2007 to 2012, while merchandising and sponsorships are projected to hit $19.5 billion (up 29 percent) and $14.5 billion (up 46 percent), respectively, according to the report.

Editing by Leslie Gevirtz