Traditional Sporting Tentative Approach to Livestreaming

November 12, 2021Racing Standard

Whilst the biggest sporting events around the world have become more accessible online with exclusive platform deals and online channels, something that still remains inaccessible however is easier livestreaming options. Many options have found the huge benefit of changing to either free or low cost alternatives, with esports certainly being the poster child with huge numbers and free accessibility that has helped gaming as a whole grow with the huge popularity found through all genres, even less likely candidates like casinos which have recently found a surge in online options at amongst others with the struggles in brick and mortar locations, and has shown that even niche interests can grow extremely popular through online streaming.

The biggest issue to stop any expansion particularly to free livestreaming platforms has simply been within the size of the deals signed for TV broadcasting – for sports like soccer, billions of dollars are still spent every year in securing deals for exclusivity and remains a very profitable industry, and whilst some online platforms are starting to challenge this status quo notably with Amazon and its Prime service, it still only represents a very small portion of the games played. This means most viewers are stuck to using dated platforms which are rife with issues with quality and performance, and often tied to larger subscription fees too.

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Another issue that has become apparent is the need for independence, the sports that do look to expand into the online space would rather do so with their own brand-new service, rather than relying on an established streaming platform already, and this also leads to similar issues with quality and performance as these newer options often can’t match the better choices already out there. A great example has come through both Formula 1 and the UFC – both have become notorious for launching their own streaming platforms at a higher price but with poor performance that instead leads many users looking for free, and often these alternatives are in the grey area too of legality.

It’s looking unlikely that change will come quickly as these expensive TV deals will remain in place for a number of years yet to come, but as they start to expire it may be time for traditional sporting to explore the successes found in online livestreaming and follow the path that has led to the success of virtual alternatives, given the enormous viewer numbers and ease of access it is the way forward for entertainment, and the longer traditional sporting waits to introduce these cheap and accessible options, the further it falls behind the curve – the options will always remain popular and globally adored, but viewer numbers may not grow in the way that had been hoped.

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