Sports entertainment has changed radically since personal communication devices became available for the mass market a little more than a decade ago. Texting, sending pictures, and sharing memes are now part of the experience of viewing any sports event, whether it is a massive football championship or a local hockey match.
And as technology keeps improving, fans –especially the Gen Z and many millennials– are now able to keep engaged with their favorite sports teams well beyond the livestream of their events. A recent report by consulting firm Deloitte found that up to 95 percent of surveyed fans have some form of interaction with their favorite team in the off-season, and 55 percent of them say being more engaged would make them more likely to purchase a ticket for a live event in the future.
Considering the current pandemic situation, we still have a long way to go before live events with audiences in sports arenas make their comeback. However, they might not need to, since technology is fueling the opportunity for sports teams or clubs to keep engaging with fans wherever they are, whatever they’re doing.
This opportunity is mainly due to OTT, or over-the-top streaming . OTT is a cloud-based service that allows linking various devices to livestream any event directly to any device, adapting the resolution as needed, depending on the internet connection. Think of it as how Netflix is able to stream its library of content to smart TVs, tablets, or smartphones.
For live events taking place in arenas or field tracks, OTT works as well. Through MBB (mobile broadband), a feed can be created through various linked cameras, each with different vantage points. Then the OTT can livestream through an app or a website, and it is not restricted just for massive sports media companies or leagues. OTT through MBB can be used by grassroots rightholders, or any college or sports club that wants to stream an event.
And yes, even though it means an opportunity for advertisers and real-time engagement, OTT goes beyond the livestream. Thanks to it’s self-healing video capabilities, the entire sports event can be available afterwards without any glitches or interruptions, allowing analysts to review play-by-play, teams to go over their strategies, and fans to relive and share the excitement all over again. OTT is opening up the doors for 24/7 engagement –a feature that often finds its most loyal fanbase with local sports events, alma maters and colleges nationwide.
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