10 things we learnt at… BPI’s Match of the Day Insight Session

A special BPI Insight Session demonstrated just how closely music and sports are linked and offered some fascinating insights into the licensing and sync options within those worlds, plus the opportunities that lie waiting for artists and songwriters.

Jamie MacMillan
  • By Jamie MacMillan
  • 8 Nov 2021
  • min read

The DNA of music and sports are closely intertwined — twin passions that are inextricably linked by a sense of community and togetherness. At a special BPI Insight Session, the intersection between music and sports was investigated, and it threw up some fascinating insights into the licensing and sync options within the world of sports, as well as a glimpse into some potential ‘virtual’ futures.

Here’s what we learnt. 

Big business

Sky Sports’ licensing team scour the entire music landscape for options. Over 1,000 commission deals take place each year, from music for branding events to programmes via commercial breaks.

Library music vs. commercial sources

Only 11 percent of these pieces are commissioned — a huge 63 percent comes from library music while the remaining 26 percent comes from commercial sources.

The right track

The Sky Sports team are not always looking for the most popular or commercially successful tracks, instead the best track for them is the one that captures the different emotions best.

Life expectancy

The average life of a licensed track on Sky Sports is a maximum of two – three years which means there are a lot of opportunities throughout the channel. There’s only one exception to this rule… Absurd by Fluke has been used on Monday Night Football since the programme began. 


In the stands

Sports stadiums are another huge opportunity for licensing, but the secret for artists getting onto playlists there is by making it a compelling story, whether that’s through having a relationship with sports, supporting a specific team or having some sporting element to the music.


Over one billion licenses are required every year for sports performances set to music, making it one of the largest opportunities out there.

An interactive experience

Tech experts are expecting live music streams to continue to follow in the same paths as live sports broadcasts. Augmented VR, alternate angles, optional additional information all make it a more fluid, interactive experience.


Businesses like Sorare offer another potential avenue for growth in the collection and trading of collectable digital cards based on football. It is expected that this could begin to work in a similar way to NFT’s.

Sports and hip-hop

The most popular genre of music since 2018, hip-hop now accounts for 33 percent of all streams globally. As its influence continues to grow, some US live sports networks are beginning to work closely with the key artists in the scene. From Drake teaming up with NBA to ESPN, to Kendrick Lamar creating a theme song for the 2017 NBA play-offs, sports and hip-hop are closer than ever.


Studies have shown clear correlation and overlap in different fandoms. Classical music fans tend to be more interested in tennis, athletics and golf while fans of heavy metal are more engaged with WWE, fight sports and horror movies.

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