Cord cutting is gaining popularity. This year, the analysts at MoffettNathanson Research reported a 3.4% drop in the total number of pay TV subscribers — the steepest decline since the trend emerged in 2010.
As viewers are becoming more tech-savvy, they prefer to consume content in a digital form and choose to tune in via social media and streaming services. According to NBC Sports, Super Bowl LII became the most live-streamed Super Bowl in history, breaking the record with 3.1 million concurrent streams.
Games, training sessions, interviews with coaches and top athletes — in sports, there’s no shortage of versatile content to stream. To get started, sports organizations just need a suitable live streaming platform — a social media service, a SaaS model, or a custom live video solution. Any platform of choice can help sports clubs and associations reap the benefits of live streaming their events.
Expand Your Viewership
One of the best things about live streaming is that your audience is not limited by the size of the venue or event budget. These barriers do not matter as long as your viewers have high-speed Internet access.
Besides being always connected, today’s fans are also mobile and ready to join in anytime, anyplace — all thanks to the ubiquity of laptops, tablets, and smartphones. With this multi-screen trend revving up, there’s your opportunity to expand your global reach even further.
Handling this diversity of devices is easy with a live streaming encoder that converts your video and audio content into an array of formats. Depending on your streaming needs, you may choose from professional hardware encoders to cloud-based encoding software to enterprise-grade OVPs that take care of all ingestion, encoding, transcoding, and video management for you.
Ensure Quality Of Experience
For sports fans, a game night is something to look forward to, a chance to kick back and enjoy the show. Imagine their frustration if they run into poor streaming quality — it can completely ruin the whole experience and make them lose interest in the game.
This is why Quality of Experience (QoE) should be one of your prime concerns if you want to keep your fans hooked. Professional live video solutions leverage multi-bitrate streaming to serve the highest-quality streams depending on the users’ bandwidth. QoE also depends on the proximity of your viewers to servers. To minimize latency, consider a multi-CDN approach. With constant monitoring and best-path routing, a multi-CDN setup allows you to ensure availability and the best possible performance for your dollars.
As a result, your global audience will enjoy smooth glitch-free streaming, while you can leverage intelligent load balancing to optimize the cost of video delivery in real time.
Promote Your Brand
Like in any other business, sports organizations need brand awareness to promote fan loyalty and garner positive attention. A professional-looking live streaming platform can support marketing efforts and help capitalize on strong brand recognition.
From that perspective, a custom-built platform or a SaaS-based service can be a smarter way to go as they allow you to customize the look and feel of your live streams — unlike social media platforms that will still have their logos hanging around.
To step up your brand promotion game, try taking your fans on a journey that starts with your live video streaming website and extends to a custom mobile app. Besides increased brand visibility, your mobile app can provide users with a new way of consuming content and offer additional perks such as real-time stats, the players’ profiles, event schedules, and more.
Engage Your Audience
Nothing can beat that electric atmosphere in the stadium during the game. But live streaming can score big with the advantages of its own.
Besides streaming the event from multiple angles to give viewers a complete picture, you can boost fan engagement with exclusive content. Leverage your live streaming service to give 360° tours around stadiums, stream pre- and post-game interviews, or let the fans tune in to watch training sessions.
Another way to enhance user engagement is through interaction. An integrated live chat is a great place for fans to engage on a real-time basis and share their passionate opinions.
There is more than one way to monetize live video. You may choose to kick off with a donation button on your live stream page as an easy way for your viewers to express their gratitude and appreciation.
Other monetization models include subscriptions, ads, and pay-per-view. All these options are viable, and it’s up to you to choose the most suitable one taking into account the size of your audience, your team’s popularity, and other factors.
When your live stream ends, it doesn’t mean that your revenue stream should dry up too. If your streaming platform of choice has a Live-to-VoD functionality, it will automatically record your streams and save them in a library of video-on-demand files. As a result, your viewers can catch up on every missed game, while you can enjoy additional monetization opportunities.
Live Streaming – Summing Up
Let’s face it — live sports streaming is here to stay. Many sports organizations including professional sports leagues like Major League Baseball successfully leverage their custom live streaming platforms to gain viewership, promote their brand, and boost their bottom line. Do you?
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Author Bio: Olga Ezzheva is a Technology Writer at Oxagile, a provider of software engineering and IT consulting services for SMEs and Fortune 500 companies alike. You can reach Olga at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect via LinkedIn.