At the beginning of 2017, Cable TV had its worst quarter yet after losing around 762,000 of their TV subscribers. Traditional media companies’ viewership is down across the board—Disney, ESPN and entire sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB are all losing massive amounts of viewers. ESPN, for example, has lost over 10 million subscribers since 2011 and recently had to fire a slew of journalists and on-air personalities to adjust.
The writing's on the wall. People are changing how they consume video and more and more people are choosing to ‘cut the cord.’ As cable viewership is on the decline, the demand for sports live streaming has grown in particular, and it’s become more accessible than ever with the rise of user-friendly video CMS platforms. Now, everyone from national league games to local high schools is able to capitalize on the demand for live sports streaming.
In that same quarter that cable had an exponential drop in subscribers, Twitter aired more than 800 hours of live streaming content from over 400 events ranging from politics, sports, news, and entertainment. These numbers beg the question: why is sports live streaming so hot?
Traditional media and major sports leagues aren’t sitting back while they lose their subscribers. In fact, it has driven them to experimentation and testing for survival. For example, the NFL recently experimented streaming their “Thursday Night Football” games on Twitter so fans could watch NFL games in HD on their phone. While Twitter will not be streaming NFL Games in the future (the NFL struck a $50 million streaming deal with Amazon instead), the short-run live streaming partnership was one of the first of it’s kind of this magnitude.
The Houston-based Texan Live saw a similar opportunity with a subscription and advertising-based streaming service in their local market (the 8th largest DMA). Texan Live uses Zype Live to power their on-demand subscription and live video network and they haven't looked back since.
With the massive movement of pay-tv subscribers to alternative sources, the money had to go somewhere. However, the syndication of live sports events is so rooted in traditional media-based relationships that it’s a huge indication of where video streaming is headed.
If sports leagues like the NFL start to see a higher return from partnerships with live streaming platforms such as Amazon, Twitter, and other OTT apps, then we could very well be looking at an entirely different landscape in just a few years.
Live streaming isn’t just for the big fish. Smaller scale sports networks have the ability to capitalize on the trend as well. With a content management system (CMS), local and regional sports networks can use live streaming to tap into a much larger network and leverage social media platforms to magnify their distribution.
The powerful ability to deliver the same live stream, at the same time, to every screen through one seamless platform is the obvious next step for local sports networks such as Texan Live. They are creating localized digital communities around their live sports content. These partnerships also allow sports leagues, as well as local content producers and broadcasters, to own their revenue and audience like never before—without the interference of a middleman.
Get ready for the next wave of local, national and international sports live streaming. You thought cable and satellite networks exploded the sports broadcasting landscape? How many streaming local ESPNs or MLB.tvs are out there? Request a demo and get ready for the tsunami!