Live Streaming Solutions [Buyers Guide]

The SportsTech Match team has compiled this overview of the live streaming market in response to the growing number of enquiries we receive from buyers looking for solutions.


To find the right technology solutions for your live streaming use case, submit your requirements today by answering a few short questions (takes less than 5 minutes), and our team will send you a matching report with details of the best solutions for you.


Contents


Introduction To Live Streaming And Live Streaming Solutions

Types Of Live Streaming Solutions

Major Trends In Live Streaming

Use Cases And Buyers Of Live Streaming Solutions

Choosing The Best Live Streaming Solutions For Your Needs

1. Introduction To Live Streaming And Live Streaming Solutions


Live streaming is the delivery of video or audio to an audience over the Internet. It can be a more cost effective way to broadcast to fans compared to traditional cable or satellite broadcasting. The rise of a new generation of so-called cord cutters and cord nevers, who dislike paying for bundled content, has been widely credited for the recent growth in live streaming in sports and beyond. Younger generations are also attracted to the interaction and engagement possibilities created by live streaming.


2. Types of Live Streaming Solutions


Live streaming solutions typically have the following core features:

  • Event Creation: the ability to create events including metadata associated with the event (e.g. date, kick off time, location, competing teams etc).

  • Studio: a place to manage the basic production (e.g. start / end the stream, overlay graphics, monitor the stream performance etc).

  • Video Player: this is how your viewers consume your content and it is usually embeddable on your own website.

  • User Analytics: an overview of basic consumption data (e.g. unique viewers, concurrent views, viewer location, etc).

There are three types of live streaming solutions available to sports rights owners:

  • Third party branded live streaming platforms

  • Off-the-shelf white label solutions

  • Bespoke solutions

Third party branded live streaming platforms


Third party branded platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Live typically offer a free live streaming solution to sports rights owners. These platforms also offer tools to empower streamers to share advertising revenue and/or generate their own revenue from sponsorship and donations (amongst other sources).


If you are sending a stream directly to You Tube, Facebook Live or another social platform, it's not possible to add a scoreboard or a timer without investing in production software. These platforms only distribute the streams and do not normally provide features to create overlays or other production elements.


Off-the-shelf white label solutions


There are many options available to the more advanced streamer who wants to deliver a professional live stream, host it on their own website or app, customise the user experience and avoid having to share revenue with a third party platform. These solutions are typically sold as a white label that can be branded by the sports rights owner and paid for on a subscription or pay-as-you-go basis. Many of these solutions are considered to be "software-as-a-service (SaaS), a method of delivery in which the solution is accessed online, rather than installed on an individual computer.


Bespoke solutions


Many companies are offering custom made live streaming solutions. Typically they offer an end-to-end OTT (over the top) platform which includes both the features of a live streaming solution as well as the web and/or app platform upon which it sits. These solutions are for the most advanced streamers with larger budgets and advanced requirements.


3. Major Trends In Live Streaming


Personalisation


Personalisation can be defined as the action of producing or displaying something specifically tailored to meet someone’s individual requirements or tastes. It can be driven by explicit data (what a user tells the platform e.g. liking a piece of content) or implicit data (data gathered and learned through a user’s behaviour).


A study by US communications giant Verizon found that almost two thirds (63 per cent) of consumers would be willing to pay more to stream live sports if platforms were to provide a more personalised user experience.


Remote Production


Production budgets are being squeezed across the world of sport at all levels with the exception of the super premium levels. In combination with the restrictions put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 will see an acceleration in remote production. This is likely to make live streaming more accessible to smaller sports rights owners. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are already being used by a number of companies to replace human video editing to generate highlights in near real-time.


Sports Betting


Sports betting, now legal in the US, is increasingly becoming the perfect partner for live streamed sport and offering many sports rights owners a valuable revenue stream from the sale of rights to low latency live streams as well as data.


4. Use Cases And Buyers Of Live Streaming Solutions


Event Organisers


Event Organisers will typically be looking for live streaming solutions that reach fans in markets where there is no broadcast agreements in place. They might need a pay-per-view feature to enable them to charge fans to watch and/or may want to incorporate their sponsors into the broadcast to give added exposure and engagement opportunities.


Sports Teams


Sports teams will typically not have access to live content that is sold centrally by a league or competition. Therefore, in many cases, they will be looking for a solution to show content in markets that have not been centrally sold (so called "dark markets") or other live content such as training sessions or press conferences. In many cases, they will want to feature sponsors and potentially charge for content as well as give free access to content to season ticket holders.


Broadcasters, Telco’s And OTT Platforms


Broadcasters, Telco’s and specialist OTT platforms will typically be looking for more advanced and custom made solutions that deliver a seamless and personalised user experience at scale. They will need advanced user management capabilities to register users and enable users to manage their own preferences and payment terms.

5. Choosing The Best Live Streaming Solutions For Your Needs


Now that you understand the live streaming solutions market, it’s time to find a solution that works best for your organisation. At SportsTech Match, we’ve already done the research for you, so you don’t have to spend hours or days searching the internet for the right solution.


Submit your requirements by answering a few short questions (takes less than 5 minutes) and our team will send you a matching report with details of the best solutions that match your requirements.


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