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How to build better sports streaming experiences

In part one of our sports series, we mapped out the opportunities for sports streaming. In this post, we’re going to explore the features you need to build an immersive sports experience. We’ll demonstrate this with one of our clients, GAAGo, showing you why and how they’re so successful.

What is GAAGo?

GAAGo is the first and only streaming service for the Gaelic games, worldwide. It’s delivered in partnership by RTE and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), offering access to over 100 matches. Matches are streamed both live and on demand. The service provides access to niche sports. Its growing fast – in 2014, GAAGo found a global audience with fans in 120 countries.

How do they create an immersive experience?

1. Bringing the fans closer to the action

The GAAGo Club Scheme brings GAAGo fans closer to the action. It informs them that their payments for games and season passes directly benefits their team. They ask fans to donate 10% of their payments to the team of their choice, giving fans yet another reason to buy access to the streams.

2. Freedom of choice in monetization

GAAGo doesn’t have a fixed subscription model (the norm in sports streaming). With an audience spanning different generations, household income and locations, RTE needed to offer flexible pricing models. Fans can choose whether they want to pay for all the action up front with a season ticket, or just pay for the matches they want. This helps to break down the barriers, ensuring a large audience of fans can watch the games.

3. Social media engagement

Gaelic games fans are passionate, and they engage at every opportunity on social media. GAAGo regularly offers competitions through Instagram and Twitter for its fans to win season passes and merchandise. This empowers their audience to do their own marketing for them, collecting rich data that drives the team to make continuous improvements to the GAAGo service.

Why are they successful?

Most importantly, GAAGo has a defined audience: Gaelic games fans outside of Ireland. They’ve opened up Gaelic games globally, and are satisfying a need for the Irish diaspora.

Before, there was no way to catch up on these games for fans. With 34.5 million Americans who list their heritage as primarily Irish (seven times larger than the population of Ireland itself), RTE identified a huge opportunity. In an interview with Sport for Business, Noel Quinn (GAA Media Rights Manager) said:

“When you go overseas, for a year or a lifetime, you cling to what it is that is central to your identity.”

Finally, it’s interesting to see how they position themselves. GAAGo’s The Original Beautiful Game is a message that stands out online. A message that connects with both younger and older audiences.

What can your sport learn from their success?

Streaming opportunities work just as well for niche sports. If not better. GAAGo is proof that you do not need a huge following to be successful in streaming. An engaged fan base is the most important factor here and always will be.

A quick search on Google will find more niche sports who are using online video to cut through. The Whistle Sports Network livestreams niche sports as diverse as ultimate Frisbee, lacrosse and bowling trick shots. They bring in a younger audience who watch the content multiple times and comment as they’re watching.