LEAD1 Releases Market Study on Three Emerging Trends in College Athletics

LEAD1 Association, which represents the athletics directors of the 131-member schools of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), released a market study on three emerging areas in college sports; sports betting, esports, and over-the-top (OTT) media, in conjunction with its fall annual meeting.

The LEAD1 Market Study can be accessed HERE

WASHINGTON – The LEAD1 Association, which represents the athletics directors of the 131-member schools of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), released a market study on three emerging areas in college sports; sports betting, esports, and over-the-top (OTT) media, in conjunction with its fall annual meeting. During the past few months, LEAD1 telephonically interviewed approximately 100-member institutions on these cutting-edge topics.

Regarding Sports Betting:

  • Sixty-two percent (62%) of LEAD1 schools would favor an integrity fee, a fee based on the total amount bet, to cover increased compliance costs associated with legalized sports betting.
  • Fifty-two percent (52%) of LEAD1 schools would favor a uniform injury reporting approach for college sports.
  • Twenty percent (20%) of LEAD1 schools would accept sponsorship money from gaming interests.

Among schools considering accepting sponsorship money from gaming interests, common considerations raised in the market study include openness to partnering with a casino(s), but would focus on branding the casino(s) like a resort by focusing on dining and entertainment and not sports betting.

Regarding Esports:

  • Fifty percent (50%) of LEAD1 schools are considering the creation of varsity esports in the next five (5) years.
  • Seventy-one percent (71%) of LEAD1 schools believe esports will be a broadly-followed competitive undertaking for the foreseeable future.
  • Forty-three percent (43%) of LEAD1 schools view student-affairs as the best place for administering esports; 33-percent see athletics as the most likely place; and 21-percent prefer Academic Departments as base for esports.

Among schools considering the creation of varsity esports, common considerations raised in the market study include costs (what expenses does esports entail), compensation (can esports players be considered “amateurs” if they are receiving payouts from competitions), Title IX (esports is 96-percent male dominant), the scope of revenue opportunities, and monitoring (how other schools within the same conference are reacting to esports).

Regarding (OTT) media, internet-based broadcasting:

  • Forty-two percent (42%) of LEAD1 schools already distribute coaches’ shows via the web, OTT, or mobile.
  • Thirty-six percent (36%) of LEAD1 schools distribute features on athletic teams and their student-athletes.
  • On average, a LEAD1 school produces 250 hours of live and 200 hours of non-live original sports video programming within a given school year.

“We hope this information will help our athletics departments collectively make more informed decisions regarding these three emerging trends in college athletics,” said Tom McMillen, President and CEO of the LEAD1 Association.

The LEAD1 Market Study may be accessed HERE.

About the LEAD1 Association: LEAD1 represents the athletics directors of the 131-member universities of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Key to the LEAD1 mission are influencing how the rules of college sports are enacted and implemented, advocating for the future of college athletics, and providing various services to our member schools. For more information, please visit our website at www.LEAD1Association.com.