Could video streaming support sports through the pandemic and beyond?

2020-07-14 Other

The impact of COVID-19 on sports’ biggest clubs and competitions has been widely documented – a lack of action puts multi-billion dollar broadcasting deals at risk, and while many competitions are now set to be completed, clubs will still lose out on the hundreds of millions as a result of stadium closures. However, it’s those further down the sporting ladder  – lower league clubs, amateur competitions, and even more niche sports – that will feel the impact the most.

Social distancing measures will continue to disrupt typical revenue streams for the foreseeable future. However, video streaming presents new opportunities to generate revenue, appease sponsors, and maintain fan engagement.

Video streaming offers new opportunities in sport

Falling revenues have already forced the United States rugby union team to declare bankruptcy, and it is feared the UK’s British Basketball League could face a similar fate. The financial impact of COVID-19 is expected to claim many more victims the longer the pandemic goes on.

Clubs and leagues, particularly those without lucrative television deals and insurance policies, will need to replace lost match day revenue. For those that typically rely on door-to-door fundraising and events to generate funds, there will be an even greater need. While stadiums are closed, clubs can charge fans a set price to access live streams, and in turn, continue to generate match day revenues.

Live streaming also offers clear benefits from a sponsor’s perspective. With exposure from branding on club kits, stadium interiors, and match day programmes lost to the pandemic, live streamed games would provide a new channel for advertising to reach fans. Using Spiideo Play, for example, clubs have the ability to populate productions with sponsor branding and messages. Even once sport returns to normal, this will provide an extra incentive, making it easier for clubs to attract new sponsors as they recover from the pandemic.

Automated live streaming doesn’t just offer potential for clubs, however – Spiideo has also seen growing interest from media companies during the pandemic. Previously, local news media would typically send reporters to a stadium to capture visual footage and provide audio commentary. Aside from allowing the broadcasting of games to continue during the pandemic, it has also helped many to realise how automation can enable them to scale. By utilising AI, media companies can automate the capture of more footage, and in turn provide a better service to their subscribers. 

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Broadcast quality sports streaming

Thanks to technological advances, implementing live stream capabilities is becoming far less complex and time-consuming. Spiideo repurposes Axis’s network cameras, combining them with AI technology to capture every moment of play. Through Spiideo Play, an automatic live sports streaming solution, customers can create broadcast-quality live sports productions with minimal input. 

Through a straightforward web-based platform, clubs schedule future streams and set their price, features that will then be kept on all platforms automatically when the fixture begins. Using our solution, teams can take control of the broadcast, adding overlays and audio commentary to create high-quality productions with minimal effort.

The future of sports broadcasting

COVID-19 has left many in the sports industry searching for new ways to keep fans engaged and create new revenue streams. As we have a plug and play system, designed to make it quick and easy for users to install, live streaming can help to address the urgent need for new solutions.

It is evident that live streaming can provide immediate benefits amid the pandemic. However, many of its benefits can continue to serve the industry even when sport returns to normal. Once stadiums reopen, live streams can continue to attract those that prefer to view sport from the comfort of their home, provide additional reach for sponsors, and simplify the process of broadcasting sporting events.

This period will force permanent changes across various industries. With new solutions offering high-quality production – without the need for professional camera operators or production processes – the automation of sports production is likely to be one of them.

This post originally appeared on the Axis Communications blog.

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