OTT, or over-the-top, is an online content service provided directly to the public; with 5G we can expect to see these services growing fastly especially in the sport industry. Thanks to OTT, content producers no longer need broadcasting intermediaries such as TVs or telecom operators to offer content to their audience (this is called “Direct-to-Consumer”). Services such as OKAST allow anyone to launch their own OTT service, thus offering a new economy for all creators and broadcasters of audio and video content.
Sport industry was one of the last industries to move to online and OTT streaming services. Live streaming of sporting events became the new standard after the Covid-19 was introduced. OTT is then a significant source of revenue and audience for all sports players. Moreover, the demand for streaming services is constantly growing! No wonder Amazon bought the NFL rights in April 2018 for $130 million or that they will broadcast Roland Garros between 2021 and 2023.
So what are the direct impacts of OTT and live streaming on the sports industry?
A greater variety of sports to watch, for professionals and amateurs.
OTT and live streaming tools are enabling more and more people to launch their own sports streaming platform. And not only professional clubs or popular sports such as soccer, tennis or basketball. A wide variety of sports can be offered on OTT, such as field hockey, volleyball or even curling.
In addition to offering more diversification, it is increasingly common to see local clubs broadcasting amateur matches. At OKAST for example, we count among our clients the French Table Tennis Federation which broadcasts several matches simultaneously every weekend. Or boxing clubs offering galas with professional as well as amateur fights. How many families travel at the weekend to watch their children’s soccer or tennis matches? Imagine having this content broadcast on an OTT platform so that the rest of the family can watch live or even replay it!
These new uses enabled by live streaming and OTT will revolutionize the way we consume sports in the coming years.
Global reach and scalability for sports
Live streaming sports events can be global. By freeing yourself from one broadcaster or distributor, it is possible to reduce the cost and legal complexity of negotiating contracts on a territory by territory basis with numerous distributors and partners.
Similarly, for amateur sports clubs, there is no longer a need to limit the broadcast of a match to a local level, as family members living in different parts of the world could have access to the broadcast of a match.
The advantage of OTT is that it no longer limits the number of viewers. Even if a stadium has a limited number of seats, thanks to streaming, the number of fans who can view content is unlimited. The cloud servers typically used for OTT’s services allow for adapting to the traffic and automatically scaling in case of high traffic.
More income for all players of the sport industry
It is estimated that streaming will enable sports media rights revenues to reach $85 billion by 2024, according to a report by ReThink TV.
Pay-per-view or TVOD are content monetization models often used for sports OTT services. Some services also offer subscription models that provide access to live streaming as well as a replay of the event. For sports rights holders, it is possible to generate significant revenue by marketing access directly through their own OTT platforms, rather than selling it to a broadcaster. But it is also possible to sell them to new OTT broadcasters, such as Amazon or Dazn.
For sports clubs, offering subscriptions or pay-per-view is a very interesting way to diversify their revenues, just like merchandising for example.
Valuable customer data for the sport industry
OTT also introduces a very strategic notion of customer data. Until now, sports rights holders sold their rights but did not retrieve any data from end-users (which were therefore owned and operated by broadcasters). By becoming broadcasters, clubs or federations can get interesting information about users and their fans.
Through the experience of the connected user, this data can be analyzed and qualified to improve the fan experience and increase fan loyalty. FC Barcelona, for example, studied a subscription segmentation: a subscription for children (comprising two groups, the first for children under 5 years old and the second for children under 14 years old) and a subscription for adults. In this way, the club can personalize the content that is offered to each customer segment and increase the sense of belonging to the club throughout the fan’s life.
Of course, customer data makes it easier to involve sponsors or advertisers, who are very keen on this advanced data in their marketing strategies. Ultimately, this helps generate additional revenue for the players in the sports OTT.
Increase the sports fans commitment
Same as music industry, Live streaming for sports enables much more interactive experiences for fans. Interactive chat for question-and-answer sessions with athletes, for example, user-generated content, fan walls, etc. are all features that are possible thanks to digital technology and that boost fan engagement. In the future, services will be available to watch live sports content while being connected with friends around the world.
If you are a sports club, a federation, a sports rights holder (or any player of the sport industry) and you would like to launch an OTT service for your members or fans, contact us at email@example.com.