Viewers are flocking to streaming services across a range of platforms. Now, sports teams and content owners are relying less on the big broadcasters to reach fans. This brings unique opportunities to grow followings and raise revenues.
Are you capitalising on these opportunities?
In this article, we’ve identified three ways that you can utilise the power of streaming video for your sports organisation. We’ve included examples from our own clients and the wider industry to show you who’s doing it well.
Opportunity 1: Build your audience
Adobe Digital Index’s report revealed the numbers of users watching sports video streams are surging by 640%, year on year. As cord cutting accelerates and traditional TV declines, there’s a chance to reach new audiences.
Our work with RTE for GAAGO has been, as we’ve opened Gaelic games up to the Irish diaspora and new fans who want to watch unique, niche sports that can’t be found on the traditional channels.
Opportunity 2: Improve the fan experience
With deeper analytics, you can engage with your fans and gain valuable feedback. You can see where they drop off in streams, and the impact of the content you’re producing.
Through these tools, you can curate what’s on your website and test out new ideas with little investment. You can also integrate live data feeds, giving your fans real time, on screen analysis of what’s happening.
You can’t overlook the importance of mobile to the fan experience, either. Sports News Media and Kantar Media found that 42% of U.S. respondents say they consume sports content on mobile devices. Features like automatic transcoding and responsive websites are seen as minimum standards in 2015. Get this in place, and you’ll go a long way towards building advocates of your platform.
Opportunity 3: Raise revenue
There are typically three ways for sports clubs to raise revenue from their video content:
- Ad supported revenue
- Paid subscriptions
- Pay per game.
In the States, March Madness Live surpassed 51 million live video streams through the first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, more than the total for the entire tournament last year. This brought substantial advertising revenue for the NCAA.
Bear in mind, however, that while ad-based models attract high numbers but do not have good customer retention figures. Advertising can be a great revenue generator for one-off streams and big events, but for regular content, you might want to consider a paid subscription.
Similar to Netflix, Liverpool FC offers a complete package for its fans. For £4.99 a month, Liverpool fans get access to more than just the games: they get exclusive interviews, live news programmes, pre-match analysis and specials with comedian John Bishop. Their massive following ensures a keen number will want to subscribe and delve deeper into content.
Pay per game
GAAGO operates on a pay per game (or season ticket) model. This model works for their smaller fan base, as they see the value in paying extra for a niche service. In return, they support the growth of Gaelic games and receive a service which serves them, first and foremost.
There are clear opportunities for sports clubs and content owners to use online video. However, there are a few things to be mindful of. Online video isn’t the latest fad in sports, but a long term strategy for growth and they offer some of the best deals available right now.
These are the key takeaways to increase value for your business and the fans:
- Prepare for the long run. It takes time to build an audience. The Netflix streaming service started out to complement their DVD-by-mail service. It took them years to build it to the service it is today. Once established, however, the results speak for themselves and you can engage with your audience on your own terms.
- Deliver compelling content that is fresh and engaging. Will your audience tune in just for the games? Could you add more value with deeper content, like interviews, news and original documentaries?
- Be mobile ready. There’s no excuse. Smartphones have become the device of choice for mobile video viewing, due in part to the trend of watching sporting highlights in snippets on small screens
- Listen to your fans. Especially about what they’re willing to pay for entry. Your pricing model could make or break your platform.