There are now more channels than ever before to watch sport on, whether this is linear, on catch up or in highlight form. These platforms mean that broadcasting – especially sports broadcasting – is becoming increasingly diverse. As choice, and quality of coverage has grown, so too has fan expectation.
When watching a live game audiences expect really engaging content to be delivered to their screens. This can consist of the inclusion of multi angle replays, 3D graphics, statistics and supplementary information. At the same time they want to join in a conversation on social media and connect with other fans with short form video across a number of digital platforms.
The owners and operators of these platforms are also now diversifying. It’s no longer just broadcasters who have the monopoly on sports rights but increasingly online platforms like Twitter and Yahoo are using their financial might and popularity to bring live sports to new tech-savvy audiences. As these changes disrupt the traditional sports market, sports teams themselves have the opportunity to step up and become both content producers and media distributors in their own right.
Ultimately this all comes down to the engagement of sports fans. Because of its live nature, broadcast will remain the key delivery method of sport. In a recent study conducted by EVS, 93% of sports fans said they still watch sports on television and nearly half of those pay to do so. When you consider the amount of live sport on free-to-air television services, that’s a high number.
But teams can supplement that coverage with their own content. This is the chance to fill in the gaps around said broadcast and take advantage of the fact that fans want more. With additional content – especially if it’s exclusive – fans feel a closer connection to your brand. Clubs control what they can show – direct access.
By building this connection, ultimately teams will be presented with the chance to leverage existing, or create new revenue streams.
In the same survey EVS found that more than three quarters (76%) of fans follow sports online in one form or another – and more than half (55%) of those do so on smartphones. Between team applications, social media and clubs’ own online channel – connected devices and online platforms are the best places to converse with fans.
Many sports teams are now leveraging existing broadcast infrastructures to deliver short-form video clips to their fans. But some are taking it to the next step and this is where we think the future of live sports will sit - sports teams producing original content with their own in-house technical infrastructures.
Adopting an in-house infrastructure
At EVS we’ve worked with a number of sports organisations to implement technical workflows for content production. Recently Italian club, AS Roma - just one of the many football clubs to recognise the potential benefits of delivering content to their fans outside of traditional broadcast – built RomaStudio to create and distribute content via Roma TV. A 24-hour online HD television channel that can also be seen on Sky Italia in Italy, Roma TV provides live coverage and exclusive content of the club and its players to fans around the world.
“The reason we wanted to launch Roma TV was to connect to our fans and followers on a more direct and emotional level,” explained Roma TV’s CTO, Fabrizio Preti. “The workflow was very easy for our teams to get their heads around so they could quickly begin producing the content we need,” continued Preti.
At EVS, we worked with a broadcast systems integrator to install a number of EVS solutions at Roma TV that let produce broadcast-quality content for its audiences. “The EVS technology that’s been implemented has given us a fast and efficient way of producing exclusive content for our fans,” added Preti.
Connecting with fans on an emotional level
By adopting a technical workflow of this kind, AS Roma are able to connect directly with their fans. Having access to exclusive content not available elsewhere, that connection is made stronger and fans will develop a more emotional bond to their team.
This then pays dividends to sports teams as their fan base will remain loyal, purchase merchandise and pay to come to live games. With the right technology in place, sports teams are able to generate a return on that emotion.