Sports Tech Thursday – Streaming Soaring

Each Thursday we will take a look at the latest news from the Tech sector as it applies to sport.

We will round up news from across Ireland and around the world that we believe is relevant to the business of sport in Ireland.

Streaming Soaring

A new report from video specialists Conviva in the United States has revealed the impact that live sport has had on the quantity of live streaming to devices.

While news was increasingly a driver of live viewing in 2018, particularly around major breaking news like the US Mid Term elections, sports continued to have a massive impact.

Coverage of the World Cup drove the largest global spike with viewing hours up 29 per cent on a single day during the group stage of the tournament.

World Cup streaming overall resulted in
a 12% lift in global viewing hours throughout the tournament.

Earlier in the year, Olympics coverage also drove a daily increase in viewership of 26 per cent worldwide from the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

“As with the continuous news cycle, the time sensitivity of live sports drives the stakes critically high to deliver a perfect experience to viewers,” says the report.

“Widely publicised issues, such as Amazon Prime had during the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, erode viewer confidence in the medium and highlight the importance of getting it right when peak traffic makes it more difficult than ever to deliver a high-quality streaming experience.”

In terms of overall viewer experience though it is a problem that is being addressed.

“Streaming TV providers delivered much better live quality than in 2017. This included 24 per cent less buffering, 37 per cent fewer video start failures, 23 per cent better picture quality, and 8 per cent faster video start times in 2018.

NFL viewership drove large, global spikes of up to 15 per cent on Sundays during
the season. The global increases these football games influenced are especially impressive given that Sundays were the busiest day for streaming in 2018, accounting for 17% of all viewing hours for the week. NFL’s Game Pass has spread across the US and around the world and is now a model of how individual sports can create and own their own programming.

GAA Model

It is a model that the GAA here has adopted through GAAGo and the Roku streaming platform it gained access to in 2016 dominates the connected TV market in the US with a 41 per cent market share.

March Madness in Basketball and the US Masters in Golf drove up to 10 per cent and 12 per cent increases respectively in viewership worldwide.

The report concludes on sport that “For providers who look to recoup lost dollars as viewers move away from traditional broadcast TV, streaming offers a bastion for sports.”

“Streaming has inherent flexibility, including distribution and access via multiple channels such as social media platforms like Facebook, sub-season package options down to a partial game, and niche content catering to speciality interests.”

At least eight games from the Lidl Ladies Football National League will be streamed on Facebook in the coming weeks while Hockey internationals, basketball tournaments and major Championships are all now available through devices.


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