2018 was a big year for live streaming sports. Whether you followed a local home team throughout the season, or cheered for your home country in the World Cup or Winter Olympics, viewers were flocking to live streaming platforms to enjoy them. In fact, NBC reported over 6.5 billion minutes of sporting events were live streamed last year. That’s 12,366.82 years (roughly).
Of course, streaming programs and events “over the top” (OTT) of traditional cable services is nothing new — over 150 million Americans used OTT services in 2016, and it’s expected to grow to over 180 million this year. That said, live sporting events were fairly uncommon on OTT platforms up until the last couple of years. Major sport leagues and teams were holding out, forcing viewers to remain tethered to their cable subscription.
The tides are changing, though, and from what we can tell, a big wave is coming in 2019 for live streaming sports. Increasingly, fans of all sports — not just mainstream leagues — will expect to watch their favorite teams whenever and wherever they want. With 5G networks rolling out this year, sports broadcasters and viewers will have new experiences to create and consume content, too.
Matt Stagg, Director of Mobile Strategy at BT Sport, agrees. “5G-connected cameras will mean we see new content that will give fans a whole new perspective on sports broadcasting,” he said in an interview with IBC.
Live streaming sports trends
A new era of sports viewing is here, and there’s no better time to dive in. At last, sports media companies are leaning in to what consumers really want: high-quality, reliable live streams of their favorite sporting events. Hooray!
This excitement isn’t solely based on our inherent, cheerful optimism, though. Here are some stats that caught our attention:
- Only a matter of time: 30% of cable subscribers said they’d cut the cord entirely if they could live stream sports online
- Esports are very much a thing now: viewers spent over 190M hours live streaming the top 4 esports events in 2018
- Girl power: 80% of women identify as sports fans, and are willing to pay up to 50% more for an OTT sports service
- Will pay for streaming: Fans will pay more money to live stream sports than watch it on cable or satellite
Getting started with live streaming sports
So, with all signs pointing to consumers wanting to watch live sports on any device (and, you know, their willingness to pay for it), how can you get started? We’ve got you covered with our shiny new guide, How to Build and Monetize Your Sports Video App. It covers everything there is to know about launching and monetizing your own live streaming sports subscription service.
In this guide, you’ll get the inside scoop on:
- Tips and best practices to build and sustain revenue with live streaming and OTT content
- Content strategies used by national teams and small sports broadcasters
- How local sports have found a niche market in the global sports space
- How Vimeo OTT’s analytics provide deeper insight into fans’ viewing preferences
Remember, live streaming sports through an OTT platform isn’t just for national leagues and big-name broadcasters like WatchESPN and Fubo. Sports media organizations of all kinds are using Vimeo OTT to reach their fans, from cricket to ultimate frisbee, polo to high school lacrosse. Get the guide today and see how you can go big in 2019.