“Imagine watching a broadcast that’s tailored just to you. Instead of getting the standard play-by-play, you can opt to listen to analysis from your favorite commentator. You can switch to your preferred camera angles and see stats for each player overlaid atop the broadcast and updated in real-time. The virtual advertisements that appear throughout the arena are customized to your interests.” This is the future of game broadcasting, according to top NBA executives.
Live sports are no longer exclusive to cable. Consumers are using streaming services now more than ever. Criteo’s “The State of Video and Connected TV Survey” found that 64% of consumers believe that streaming services provide better content. Customers are continuing to turn their eyes toward easier accessibility in the programming of streaming services.
Streaming services have added unique and advanced technology such as real-time, live statistics as well as links to player profiles and options for purchasing tickets, all of which add to the fan experience. Companies will now sponsor and partner with streaming services to advertise during live sports. Partnerships on streaming platforms will have the opportunity to engage viewers more than cable sports by offering unique and exclusive deals.
Technology innovations to enhance live streaming for viewers:
- Customizable camera angles: Going into 2022, we expect to see a rise in new streaming technologies as companies in this market compete to retain existing customers and win over more viewers. One of these is providing multiple camera angle views, including drone cams above the field, to viewers to choose from. Drones provide broadcasters with an innovative way of capturing events; the technology allows the media to get footage of the action like never before!
- Group game binges: Another viewer-focused application is watching together functionality. Sports fans that enjoy watching matches together, but are remote from each other, are the target for platforms that several sports leagues are testing which provide a way for small groups of fans to live stream a match and chat live with each other.
- Real-time alerts to engage premium subscription fans: On the other end of the monetization spectrum are fan engagement ideas that are being tested. One of them is a key moment premium subscription option that would send an alert to a fan’s mobile device that a game-changing play by a team they follow just happened, with a link in the message they can click on to see a replay. Or, in a tied match in the final minutes, an invite to join the live stream to see the final minutes for a small micropayment. Recently there have been QR codes popping up on TV screens that when captured by the viewer’s mobile camera, take them to a website where they may see special offers, or make a purchase.
An example of this would be when Parker Kligerman teamed up with Fast for a historic activation at the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. QR codes directing fans to Fast’s $1hoodie promotion were branded on Kligerman’s car and integrated into broadcast for the entire race. The QR codes were scanned over 70,000 times, leading to over 50,000 Fast hoodies sold on race day alone.
- Live-action sports betting: With more cord-cutting options to choose from than ever before, sports fans have several live services from which to pick. As those services come up with new ways to win over viewers and keep them tuned in, some appear to be focusing in on a big new feature: betting.
For decades, sports betting was an add-on at most casinos. Now, sports betting is growing. Streaming services across the industry have started to add betting features alongside their sports feeds, offering a way to increase engagement and open a new revenue stream in the process. Many brands have started trying out this new feature:
Dish partnered with DraftKings earlier this year to bake DraftKings’ Sportsbook and fantasy contests into its Dish TV Hopper platform as an app integration.
FuboTV launched its own proprietary sportsbook feature for betting in Iowa , and it’s currently in the process of clearing regulatory hurdles to operate in other states.
NBC Sports and Peacock partner with PointsBet for their betting integrations.
Sports streaming service DAZN, meanwhile, plans “to be in the betting market directly where we can,” according to its chairman Kevin Mayer. DAZN spokesperson Graham James says DAZN has “no specific plans to share at this time but believe that the addition of recreational betting to the DAZN platform across all our markets will create a safe, fun, and immersive experience for fans to enjoy alongside the top-tier sports they love.”
As technology continues to evolve, sports broadcasting will only improve and provide more opportunities. Predictions from Verified Market Research, indicate that the business of streaming live sports is expected to grow from $22 billion to more than $87 billion by 2028 – a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) rate of 21%.
“Sports has always been a genre of entertainment, much like movies, that drives engagement, drives subscriptions, that drives viewership,” says Paul Erickson, a senior analyst with Parks Associates. “The collective sports content community understands the value of what they’re offering. They can drive engagement and subscribership arguably like no other genre in any video. So they know that their content is of value.”