The League Index 2020: Commercial Attractiveness and Resilience to Coronavirus

July 2020

Understanding the commercial opportunities that professional sports leagues and constituent teams offer can be challenging. The League Index was developed as a means to benchmark top flight domestic leagues across key metrics, ensuring that potential and existing partners can accurately assess the scale of opportunity across range of teams sports.

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Key Findings

During the COVID-19 crisis, a league’s heritage and loyal local and global fanbases are crucial features to ensure its resilience

When the sports world is on pause, a loyal fanbase is a testament to a league’s strength. Leagues with storied heritage and ability to fill their home venues are more likely to have their fanbase stick with them through thick and thin. At the same time, a league’s strong digital fanbase around the world provides higher exposure and visibility for its sponsors.

50:50 commercial power distribution between North American leagues and European top-flight football competitions in Top 10

Top 10 spots in the League Index are taken by five North American sports leagues and five top football competitions in Europe. NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS boast high ticketing revenue, sporting competitiveness and strong economic background ensuring favourable investment conditions for league partners. While North American leagues are actively working towards international growth, top European football leagues are the ones enjoying strong fan support globally, with La Liga and Premier League having higher social media following than all the North American leagues combined.

dominance of football leagues and broader geographical representation  Top 11-20 ranking:

While football remains a dominating sport with 12 spots among Top 20 leagues, broader geographical distribution is seen in the Top 11-20 ranking. The list is led by Australian Football League - one of the most attended leagues globally. Baseball in Japan and cricket in India are flag bearers for Asia Pacific, while strong football legacy in the region benefits Latin America’s leagues.

Growing focus on innovative technologies

Investments in newest technologies and digital innovations in fan engagement and game presentation on TV and digital platforms will continue to be a growing trend among the major leagues aiming to improve their entertainment offering and ensure strategic global growth.

Introduction

Introduction to Euromonitor International’s League Index
Key findings

Methodology

Scope of The League Index
Value behind different metrics groups
Overview of metrics for The League Index

Top 10 Results and League Resilience

Top 10 leagues: 2019 and 2020 results compared
Index performance highlights: risers and fallers (1)
League Resilience: an important factor for commercial partners
The value behind metrics in Resilience Score
Leagues according to Resilience Score: Americas
Top 10 leagues in Americas according to Resilience metrics
Leagues according to Resilience Score: Europe
Top 10 leagues in Europe according to Resilience metrics
Leagues according to Resilience Score: AMEA
Top 10 leagues in AMEA according to Resilience metrics

Leagues 1-10: League Snapshot and Insight

Top 10 leagues according to The League Index 2020
NFL is the most commercially attractive league globally
With global games on halt, NFL expands its global streaming
Strong digital footprint depicts NBA’s global reach
Second to NFL in the Index, NBA rates higher in Resilience score
Heritage and global games put MLB among top three
MLB faces pressure to grow live and digital audiences
Premier League retains top status among football leagues
Premier League leads Resilience ranking but challenges remain
NHL remains fourth commercially attractive league in the US
NHL works towards expanding its footprint at home and overseas
Digital following and international games put La Liga second in football
While growing global footprint, La Liga’s live attendances decline
Bundesliga boasts second highest average attendance globally
Local fanbase and digital innovations support league in its growth
Economic conditions and high sell-out ratio puts MLS among Top 10
MLS expands its national reach but faces strong competition
Serie A’s strengths: heritage and growing global following
Serie A aims to improve its global appeal via OTT
Competitiveness and economic strength put Ligue 1 in Top 10
With cancelled season, Ligue 1 focuses on content improvement

Leagues 11-20: League Snapshot

Top 11-20 leagues: 2019 and 2020 results compared
Index performance highlights: risers and fallers (2)
Top 11-20 leagues according to The League Index 2020
AFL attracts fourth highest average attendance globally
EFL Championship: second tier football league with strong legacy
NPB: the most commercially attractive league in Asia Pacific
Scottish Premiership: one of the top leagues in attendance growth
Top 14 is supported by strong legacy and economic conditions
Eredivisie stands among football’s top three in sell-out ratio
Surge in attendances puts Segunda Division among top 20
Primera Division: most commercially attractive league in Latin America
India’s love for cricket puts the league among the most followed globally
Liga MX grows its regional footprint with annual games in the US

Final Conclusion

Key takeaways for leagues and commercial partners (1)
Key takeaways for leagues and commercial partners (2)

Appendix: Full League Ranking Results

The League Index 2020 (1)
The League Index 2020 (2)
The League Index 2020 (3)
The League Index 2020 (4)
The League Index 2020 (5)
The League Index 2020 (6)
The League Index 2020 (7)

Appendix: Methodology

User’s guide to unlock the information behind the league snapshots
Methodology for The League Index (1)
Methodology for The League Index (2)

Appendix: Definitions

Definitions (1)
Definitions (2)
Definitions (3)
Definitions (4)
League definitions (1)
League definitions (2)
League definitions (3)
League definitions (4)
League definitions (5)
League definitions (6)
League definitions (7)
League definitions (8)
League definitions (9)
League definitions (10)
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