Sports key for Western European and North American channels

The proportion of distinct channels which are primarily sports-oriented stood at 14% in Western Europe and 12% in North America for 2016. While sports are a key compontent of most competitive TV offerings, there is a wide variation in the proportion of channels devoted to sports across different regions - for example, in Sub-Saharan Africa only 8% of channels are dedicated to sports.

Focusing on Western Europe and North America, it is noticeable that in both of these regions a smaller proportion of channels are devoted to general entertainment: in North America, 50% of channels are classified as general entertainment, and 53% in Western Europe, compared to 59% across all other regions. Whilst this is largely accounted for by the increased proportion of sports-focused channels in these regions, it is also the case that other genres see an increase; particularly in North America, there is a greater proportion of movie-oriented channels being offered. This is indicative of consumer demand in these regions for a greater amount of premium content.

One key factor in the number of sports channels each market can sustain is the number of different sports for which major broadcasting rights deals exist in each of these regions. In both Western Europe and North America, rights deals exist for a wide range of sports and often cover a large number of major leagues for these sports from different countries. As such, it is not uncommon to encounter channels that are solely devoted to an individual sport - such as the Sky Calcio range of channels offered in Italy which are devoted to football, and NBA TV and the NFL Network in North America which are devoted to basketball and american football respectively.