Is live streaming representing a threat to sport’s broadcasters? Social video is picking up popularity apace and social media networks are recognizing the possibilities that sports media presents. Just last week Twitter struck a deal to stream NFL games on a Thursday night. This is not the only evidence of the online giants entering the sports arena. Yahoo has also just announced its intention to stream basketball each day and Facebook is also talking about entering the fray.
This does not mean that we are suddenly going to be watching our sport content on Facebook instead of via the broadcasting stalwarts, but it does mean that a change is happening. Sports coverage no longer belongs solely to broadcasters like Sky. There is an ever growing appetite for online video with an average UK adult watching more than five hours of video each day. This means that we are likely to see a slightly uneasy truce between broadcasters and social video providers.
Working together to provide more immersive content
Considering the fact that online platforms are not really currently in the market to be paying astronomical fees for sports screening rights, it makes sense that they work in tandem with sports broadcasters to improve the reach and depth of content on offer. Sky already has an agreement with Facebook to stream supporting content to its sports coverage. This content included Michael Atherton’s interview with Freddie Flintoff which was watched by more than 100,000 people. Much more content is planned to be streamed as part of this agreement. It’s a way of using Facebook’s social video capabilities to provide unique behind the scenes content to sports lovers.
Recognizing the benefits of social media platforms
There is no doubt about it, live streaming on social media platforms is not going away anytime soon. Sports broadcasters seem to have recognized this. At one time they were very skeptical about the involvement of social media due to the fat that it seemed to make piracy easier to accomplish. Now they have begun to see the value of harnessing the power of social media. Incredibly around 50 per cent of TV related talk on Twitter concerns sports coverage so you can see why broadcasters have reached this decision.
What does the future hold?
It won’t be long before the price of media sports coverage surpasses the revenue made from ticket sales. This looks likely to happen by 2018 in North America. Right now this seems likely to mean that the best way forward for everyone is for digital content companies to provide supporting content to that which is provided by the expert sports broadcasters.
This may not always be the case though; as broadband extends its global reach. Once this happens social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter could be in a better position to reach a global audience with sports coverage than national broadcasters such as BT Sport.