Access to live sport is paramount for millions around the world and some of the largest broadcast networks.
Before satellite and specific subscription channels dedicated to sport dominated the digital landscape there was minimal choice available to viewers.
Fast forward to the current climate and there is an almost never-ending stream of 24/7 live sport. Because of the increase of online streaming services many people perceive their monthly satellite subscription an unnecessary expense.
Even though TV on the whole is suffering as consumers choose for convenience and on demand services, sport is one of those unique beasts that is best watched live.
Many major sports are already adapting their strategy and embracing the demand for online streaming by signing deal with platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
However, sports media reporter and author Jim Miller has a different vision on how live sport content will be consumed in the future.
“I have a feeling, you know you go on iTunes and you buy an album or a song, and you pay $1.99 for the song?
We could be looking at a situation where you go on your phone, you go on your laptop and you buy that game.
So you don’t have an NBA pass for the entire season or you don’t have some big cable bill but you do everything from your own customisation point of view. So whatever you want. And it doesn’t even mean you have to tie yourself into a particular league. Just like you go on iTunes and pick out a song, you can pick out, ‘OK, I want to watch the Warriors and the Cavs tonight, and I’ll pay $3.99 for that game or two bucks or whatever.’
“The one thing that we know for sure is that this is an incredibly dynamic moment in time. Technology is now… it’s disrupted the very foundations of the model, where we have to re-examine.”
Part of the success of live video is the ability to instantly respond and react to consumer feedback. Another prediction of the direction of live sport content is an ‘vending machine’ style system, where viewers can cherry pick specific content and prices are subject to surges depending on demand similar to mobile app ‘Uber’.
Obviously the sports world is familiar with the pay-per-view concept, which we see often for premium sporting events, particularly boxing. This hypothetical opt in service would likely be met with strong resistance from sports leagues and rights holders. Currently subscribers pay a set fee regardless of if they watch 10 or 100% of the content, rights holders would prefer to keep the existing satellite system or relative league passes.
Pay-per-view programming would drive extinct the type of viewers who just casually turn on a sporting event in the background of whatever else they’re doing. Fans would probably focus more on the games they’re watching but would almost certainly watch far fewer games.
I have a feeling that all of these sports, in their own ways, are going to be re-examining their financial models.
Deputy Editor & Social Media Specialist