Showbiz vs. Sportbiz: Market Sizing in Entertainment and Sports

I’m already starting to gather better data.

What am I talking about?

Last week on LinkedIn I posted this:

data problem in sports via linkedin post by petcash

First off, thanks to everyone who has offered to help and/or shared some of the data you’ve uncovered.

Before providing the next steps, let me share some of those findings 👇

Entertainment vs Sports Market

Even AI knows how many different segments touch sports!

all the categories within sports

Here’s a message I received that is the best insight so far:

“Hi Andrew. Hope you are well. Firstly, love your content. I co-founded _____ in 2012, so have followed the industry for 12+ years globally. Your post on Sports Industry sizing is one where I have the same opinion as you.

The University of Oregon published “Global Sports Insights” which values the sports industry at $2.65 trillion. It’s a very comprehensive segmented report.

I think the area that does need work is the market size of the SportsTech industry. Generally, people are referencing it as a US$60B market by 2030.

I think this is way off — but it also depends on the definition of SportsTech! We have done some initial work with students and would see the value perhaps being closer to $80-100B in the US alone, so possibly $150-200B USD globally.

Our ‘rough estimates‘ say Sportstech is around 8-11% of the value of the sports industry.

For example…

In Australia, SportsTech is ~$3B of the $30B sports industry. So a $US 150-200b estimate would stand pretty true based on the $2.65 trillion that Global Sports Insights estimates.

Anyway hope that helps. Once again thank you for sharing your daily posts. Always great stuff!

Sports are big, but what about entertainment?

niches within entertainment

The U.S. Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry is the largest in the world at $660 billion (of the $2 trillion global market):

  • music: $44 billion
  • cinema: $41 billion
  • games: $255 billion
  • online video: $345 billion

But even this looks low…as areas like social media, publications, art, fashion, and theme parks could potentially be included.

Let’s go deeper into Dr. Roger Best’s and Dr. Dennis Howard’s sports report.

Global Sports Insights

How much do the revenues generated by sporting events, participation costs, and sportswear/equipment purchases total?

It would seem to be a straightforward question. But the answer is complicated…

Using the process below we defined the scope of the sports industry and then created a structure to enable us to estimate the size of the global sports industry.

scope structure and size

Existing revenue estimates for the global sports industry range from $471 billion to $1.4 trillion. What leads to the nearly trillion-dollar discrepancy?

Sports industry revenue estimates have traditionally lacked a well-defined structure and failed to measure all, or even the same, essential dimensions.

The Best-Howard Model fully captures the sports industry’s scope and structure:

Best-Howard Sports Industry Model

fan engagement sports participation and sports products

The domains and their core area breakdowns serve as a framework for collecting participation and spending data for every industry segment.

The Best-Howard Model finds the sports industry’s total value at $2.3 trillion in 2019.

Far exceeding the nearest estimate by Plunkett Research by almost $1 trillion dollars.

Sports Industry Revenues (U.S. billions)

global sports insights data

*(their latest report has sports at $2.65 trillion in 2023)

This value places the global sports industry among the 10 largest industries in the world.

Looking Ahead

Here are some examples of why data can be hard to accurately break down:

  • Is gaming/esports viewed as entertainment or sports?
  • Are sports documentaries in the entertainment or sports category? Do you include them in both?
  • In 2022, the Horse Racing Market size was valued at $396B. You add that to sports, right?
  • Illogical overvaluation (data-lacking) and significant undervaluation (research-limited) are tough areas to navigate.

Nonetheless, we’ve uncovered that sports looks to be the 9th largest industry (and that SportsTech is about 3x larger than what current reports state).

Revenues for the top 10 industry sectors around the globe (using the Howard-Best data for sports).

sports is top 10 largest industry


If you combine sports and entertainment ($2.65T + $2T) you have the 3rd largest industry in the world (based on the data we presented above).

Exciting times ahead!

And I plan on being able to provide some additional data over the next few months as we iron out some of these partnerships (including potentially one with Dr. Best and Dr. Howard).

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