15 Jan 2018

How Streaming Can Change the Way We Watch Sports

Sporting events have always been among of the biggest spectator affairs in history, from the time of the very first gladiatorial events in Ancient Rome to today’s fast-paced and highly diverse athletic competitions. In modern times, television has been the primary medium of broadcast to reach bigger audiences, but with the advent of digital and Internet technologies, online video streaming has emerged as the most popular and promising broadcast platform yet.

In the recent 2016 Rio Olympics, for instance, traditional TV viewership on the NBC network dipped by as much as 17% from the 2012 London coverage. However, interestingly, online audiences posted a record total of 1.86 billion minutes of viewing on the first 10 days of the event alone, which already surpassed the online viewership recorded during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Streaming


Clearly, streaming is changing the way we enjoy large-scale sporting and spectator events, and it seems that it will continue to be the trend in the foreseeable future for many good reasons. Here are some of them:

Wider Reach
Plain and simple, Internet technology enables media networks to reach more people around the globe despite time and distance. In countries where traditional media technology is poor or restricted, Internet and mobile touchpoints provide great alternative access. Media companies are evolving into content providers and harnessing technologies such as subscription billing software to provide uninterrupted and satisfying material to information-hungry audiences.

Wider Coverage
Network coverages of massive spectator events such as the Olympics are increasingly becoming more detailed and accurate, thanks to the unprecedented number of cameras and broadcast points that are utilized throughout the sporting venues. Technologies such as augmented reality provide real-time coverage as if you were right there in the event.

Customized Viewing Experience
Internet broadcast platforms are finally able to satisfy a long-held need of home audiences for total control of their viewing experiences. They can choose which sporting events to watch and when to watch them. They can even choose to track the appearances of their favourite teams, athletes, or national contingents. All of these experiences can be viewed simultaneously and can be managed with ease with the help of computer-mediated platforms.

In-depth information and analysis
Part of the enhanced and immersive experience of streaming is the availability of more information and analysis through complementary features such as mobile phone apps. Viewers can consult applications for more detailed scores, statistics, athlete performances, rankings, and other data as the games progress. This feature is one of the reasons why recent Olympic broadcasts have attracted an even growing number of hardcore sports enthusiasts and analysts.

The Future of Broadcast
By all indications, streaming is the way things are headed in terms of how we watch sports—whether it be the Olympics or your favourite basketball game. Not surprisingly, it will also greatly influence how we watch broadcast events in general. As early as now, the potential of streaming broadcast is astounding when you consider it for other major public gatherings and events, from news coverages and political summits to concerts and conferences.

However, the future of online streaming largely depends on how traditional media outlets are able to evolve and meet the demands of a highly discerning and demanding global audience. Gone are the days when viewers simply sat in front of the television screen and waited—today’s brand of viewership is truly immersive, engaging, and multi-dimensional. That is why the challenge is on media companies to shift gears as dynamic content providers and developers. Technology has to be actively harnessed in order for businesses to realize its full potential and to reap its benefits for a wider audience.