Sports are back, and so is the demand for them. Those who have been thinking of recording and streaming events probably are moving more toward the “doing” portion, and less toward the “just thinking about it” portion.
The push to virtual experiences during the pandemic for sports facilities, governing bodies, event owners and teams developed an appetite for technology that has only continued to grow. With this heightened interest and demand, there is a lot of innovation that is occurring and additionally, some really exciting experiences to be had.
But when you think about it, your livestream is probably the best marketing tool you will have. There are many reasons for this but all of them relate back to what you can tell your immediate audience: those who are prospective attendees of your tournament. A live stream can net you advantages several ways:
• It can attract more registrants to your event by giving it additional clout;
• It can publicize your destination or venue;
• It can allow those far away to view your event (particularly relatives or friends who can’t be there in person but who would love to see the games);
• It can increase the exposure of your athletes to coaches and scouts (something we’ll get to in a moment).
Ultimately, a livestream can be an incredibly efficient marketing tool, particularly when you play it up in your registration materials. And that means you need to iron out all the details early.
Your Livestream Can Be Tailored to Any Audience
Who is the primary target audience – or more accurately, do you have a particular group in mind who will be viewing the stream? There are different groups who may access the livestream content. Parents and other family members, athletes, coaches, scouts, recruiters and the general public all have different livestreaming needs. Yes, some of these needs overlap; however, there are some very distinguishable differences. Here’s a quick breakdown of these.
The views that coaches look for are often different from that of a casual viewer. In baseball, many coaches appreciate a first or third base camera angle as it provides an open view of the hitter or pitcher’s mechanics. If you have high school-age athletes, parents really appreciate the AI-driven follow-the-ball cameras. However, scouts and recruiters find the cameras disruptive when evaluating athletes off the ball. This is why it is important to know specifically who the livestream is intended to serve.
Another way of defining this question is to determine if the stream is for entertainment, developmental or identification purposes. The entertainment experience is typically for mom, dad, extended family or casual fans – or for alumni who want to keep track of how their school team is doing. These people typically want scoreboard features and rostering, and an announcer, when available, is always a bonus. This will require the platform to provide the features or the ability to integrate such options.
The development experience is typically paired with an individual athlete or team account that allows you to interact with the video. The interaction with the video consists of the ability to create clips, highlights and video annotations. The identification experience is all about integrated data analytics and visibility. Providing analytic data recorded onsite and then streamed live concurrently with the video feed allows scouts and recruiters to better evaluate the event participants, and to keep their eyes on any athletes in whom they are particularly interested.
Payment Can Vary
The streaming service fee is traditionally placed on either the publisher or the viewer. The publisher can be seen as the venue, governing body, event owner or team that hosts the livestream. They own the equipment and are responsible for the ongoing costs associated with the service. When the publisher is paying for the stream, this means that the viewer views for free once they have accessed the link. The viewer is just that, the individual accessing the stream for viewing purposes.
When the viewer pays, they are directed to a paywall that requires them to submit a form of payment in order to access the video feed. Some platforms are subscription-only and require that viewers pay for monthly or annual access to their content. However, the vast majority provide the publisher with both options, meaning you can choose whether you as the publisher will pay, or whether viewers will pay via a paywall.
Paywalls May Vary, According to the Terms of Your Agreement
If you choose to go with a paywall option, be sure to understand the terms of your revenue share. Revenue shares can range all the way from 90/10 in your favor to 90/10 in the livestream platform’s favor. There are a few businesses that do not allow the publisher to participate in the revenue share for the paywall at all. However, that is typically due to the fact that the platform likely covered the cost of the camera and installation as well. Be aware of these situations as they will likely require a lengthy contract.
Ownership of the Stream
This question of who owns the stream is not asked nearly enough by prospective clients. Many platforms will claim the rights to the video content and the ability to use or sell it. This is unfortunate as the value of the content is created by the publisher and athletes participating. All content should be owned by the creator or cooperatively with the publisher, rather than by the platform.
Investigate White Labeling of Products
Some providers offer white labeling or embedding so that your brand remains in front of the viewers at all times. Embedding means that they will provide you with HTML code to place on either a new or existing page on your website. This code displays the video content through an inline frame, or iframe, and keeps users on your site, consequently allowing you to track and improve your own site analytics.
With a white labeled offering, you are taking the platform and essentially wrapping your brand around its product; this often occurs through the use of a subdomain you can name yourself, such as watch.yourbrand.com. Alternatively, you can create a new branded domain specifically for livestreaming purposes such as yourbrand.tv or yourbrand.media.
All Your Options Should Be Investigated Before You Sign Anything
In summary, at first sight, all livestream platforms may seem to be the equivalent; however, there are several key factors that will determine the value of your experience, and that of your audience. There is a constant emergence of new technologies within this industry, so be sure to identify an option that is comfortable and will meet your needs. Be sure to speak with representatives from a number of competing businesses to ensure you are picking the right solution. There are a lot of great options out there, so ask questions and choose the right one for you. SDM