What Are OTT Sports Streaming Services?

sports streaming

Sports fans have access to a greater variety of sports-related video content than ever. Besides traditional television’s live sports broadcasts, sporting news, and talk shows, sports streaming services offer a host of independent online sports programs, documentaries, docuseries, and movies.

With the easy access and convenience of live and on-demand video streaming services, non-TV network media consumption continues to grow. To stay on trend and meet fans where they are, sports leagues are also transitioning their broadcasting medium. For instance, NFL’s Thursday Night Football is now exclusive to Amazon Prime Video.

So, what does the future hold for sports streaming, fans, broadcasters, and sports leagues? We explore the trends and challenges as emerging over-the-top (OTT) platforms increase their investment in sports rights.

sports streaming services on phone
Photographer: Corona Borealis Studio | Source: Shutterstock

The Rise of OTT Sports Streaming

OTT sports streaming is in demand and holds a world of new opportunities. For instance, the Fubo streaming platform offers both ESPN and Fubo Sports Network. Then, there are niche channels and apps like the Tennis Channel and IMPACT Wrestling.

With sports streaming services via OTT platforms, fans can access on-demand video and live content on any connected device. These include Smart TVs, tablets, and mobile phones. Not only is this convenient for viewers, but online sports broadcasting also offers new content monetization avenues for content owners.

The ability to watch sporting events from anywhere, on any connected device, at any time means:

  • Fans never have to miss a game.
  • Local sports teams can open themselves up to a new, dedicated fan base.
  • Small and local events can rise onto the global scene.

And because video streaming content is still available after an event, fans can rewatch their favorite events or access missed games. This lets broadcasters continue earning advertising revenue off reruns. What’s more, broadcasters can repurpose the content for documentaries, social media clips, and event highlight reels. This improves exposure, drives more followers, and increases revenue potential.

The Disruption of Sports Broadcasting

With the rise of digital platforms, the way sports content is consumed has drastically changed. OTT streaming offers viewers a more personalized and flexible experience. It allows them to choose what, when, and where they want to watch sports events. This level of control has challenged the monopoly of traditional broadcasters, who were previously the sole gatekeepers of sports content.

In addition, OTT platforms often provide extra features that enhance the viewing experience, such as interactive statistics and real-time social media integration. This has further eroded the dominance of traditional sports broadcasters, which typically offered a linear and one-dimensional viewing experience.

OTT sports streaming services are also more accessible and affordable. Accessing live sports events once required expensive cable or satellite subscriptions. But with OTT platforms, viewers can easily stream games and matches on any device.

This shift in consumer behavior has forced traditional broadcasters to adapt and evolve their strategies. To remain competitive, many broadcasters have launched their own OTT platforms or partnered with existing streaming services to offer their content to a wider audience.

For instance, Sports.TV has emerged as a significant player in bringing a variety of sports-specific content to viewers through free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels. The free streaming service has the largest number of sports-focused FAST channels (120+) in the world.

Its variety of content connects fans to their favorite sports, players, teams, games, highlights, and scores on any device for free. By partnering with dotstudioPRO, Sports.TV can easily bring together channels with various streams and electronic program guide (EPG) specifications.

OTT Technology and User Experience

Along with live-streaming games, sports streaming platforms offer a wide range of personalized content options that cater to different user preferences. This includes the ability to create custom playlists, receive personalized recommendations based on past viewing habits, and access exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

Interactive features such as live chat, polls, and game simulations also add to the overall engagement of the sports streaming user experience. Viewers even have access to extra information about teams, which isn’t available on traditional broadcast television.

Consider IMPACT Wrestling, which has leveraged OTT technology and hybrid monetization models to successfully expand to its niche audience. In just one year, its Slammiversary pay-per-view event buys were up 248.8%, from 1,300 in 2022 to 4,400 in 2023. IMPACT Wrestling implements both advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) models to build the brand and revenue.

By continuously innovating and offering interactive and engaging features, sports streaming platforms provide a more immersive and enjoyable viewing experience.

Photographer: Tero Vesalainen | Source: Shutterstock

The Future of OTT Sports Streaming

With more people accessing sports content on the go, OTT platforms must optimize their streaming services for mobile devices. In addition, the increased demand for personalized viewing experiences means users want content tailored to their preferences, whether it’s customizable camera angles or interactive features.

Streaming providers are using live sports content as a differentiator to prevent subscriber churn and attract new subscribers amid fierce competition. Live sporting event content is also a key way to entice advertisers.

On the other end, sports organizations want to monetize their rights. A prime example of the enterprising approaches taken by streaming providers is Apple’s $2.5 billion commitment for the sole rights to stream every U.S. Major League Soccer (MLS) game for the next 10 years. It’s one of the biggest deals in the history of broadcast syndication.

Major sports leagues rely heavily on media rights revenue. Streaming services may provide these leagues with additional funds, but they also offer the opportunity for smaller and newer sports and leagues to gain coverage and reach a wider audience.

However, along with these trends come challenges. The fragmentation of rights across multiple platforms could create difficulties for fans by leading to additional costs and viewing complexity. Many fans already require a combination of pay-TV and streaming services to watch their favorite sports. This could lead to further frustration and unnecessary barriers to fan engagement.

Additionally, live sports are harder to stream than broadcast—their fast pace requires higher frame rates. Latency problems can cause delays, seriously hampering the user experience. Latency issues are known to inhibit interactivity and in-game betting.

Streaming major sporting events requires robust infrastructure to support the strain on bandwidth and server capacity. Providers must invest in a scalable infrastructure to ensure smooth and uninterrupted streaming.

Join the Sports Streaming Revolution With dotstudioPRO

While entertainment streaming is a highly competitive market, there are still untapped opportunities in sports streaming services. Consumers are eager to access a greater variety of personalized and improved sports content. However, balancing the need for revenue generation with viewer expectations can be tricky. Providers must find the right pricing models, advertising strategies, and partnerships to create a sustainable business model.

dotstudioPRO’s OTT distribution and video management service equips content owners to reach an expansive audience, employ multiple monetization tools, generate stable revenue, and broadcast to popular video streaming channels. In addition, our FAST TV aggregator engine enables existing OTT streaming networks to convert on-demand platforms into a FAST TV Network.

Request your demo today or contact our experts. We’ll help you launch your direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming network efficiently and cost-effectively.

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