A report last month from global market researcher Forrester reveals that “after a slow start” compared to other regions of the world, enterprises across the European Union are rapidly adopting cloud platforms, cloud-based resources and cloud-native technologies to modernize operations and drive innovation.
Based on the number of sponsorship deals and activation programs undertaken by cloud services in the U.S., the widespread adoption of cloud computing in Europe could be a boon to properties there as cloud service providers seek to grow awareness and capture market share in a burgeoning market.
Consider that in the past few years, official cloud partnerships have blanketed pro sports in North America, including Amazon Web Services’ agreements with the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, PGA Tour and others; Google Cloud’s partnership with MLB; and Microsoft Azure’s sponsorship of the NBA. Those are all in addition to cloud services becoming part of IBM’s longstanding relationships with major events in golf and tennis.
Among the interesting developments to watch in Europe will be who stakes their claim to partnerships and how quickly. Currently, according to Forrester, 75 percent of companies are using multiple public clouds, mostly on U.S.-made technology, as Amazon, Microsoft and Google have poured billions of euros into scaling out and expanding cloud infrastructure. To date, there is no European hyperscale cloud provider that can go toe-to-toe with the American giants.
Already, two of the largest sports bodies across the pond have secured partnerships in the space.
In 2020, Germany’s top-flight Bundesliga pro soccer league inked a deal with AWS to be its official technology provider. Similar to sponsorships signed by U.S. leagues, the agreement covers, according to AWS: “1) Providing advanced real-time statistics to generate deep insights for viewers of every live-broadcast, highlight clip and digital presentation of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches; 2) Serving personalized content on digital platforms for Bundesliga fans, while also helping them better understand the game; 3) Utilizing AWS cloud infrastructure, advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to deliver the right information to fans anytime, anywhere, on any device.”
Last year, England’s Premier League designated Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as its official cloud provider charged with providing new analytics and match statistics.
Industry experts expect to soon see EU regulations that will reduce dependence on non-European technology, in a bid to tighten data security, increase data flow efficiency and enhance sustainability, among other objectives.
The European Commission has already instituted a number of policies—not regulations—to advance those goals and EU-member countries have signed a joint declaration expressing their will to collaborate toward the creation of a European cloud.
With European cloud providers’ share of the European market falling from 27 percent in 2017 to less than 16 percent in 2021, according to Synergy Research Group,
Regulations would create a better environment for such companies to establish themselves—something that will require them to spend significantly on marketing, and which could spur competition not only for customers, but for top-level sports and entertainment platforms.
In light of those impending moves, who should European rights holders put on their prospect lists? According to a July ZDNet article, “the biggest European cloud provider last year was Deutsche Telekom (with) only a two percent share of the European market, followed by OVHcloud, SAP, Orange and then national and regional players. Others noted by Forrester include Cleura, Swisscom, and T-Systems.”