Advancements in technology have transformed the way sport is broadcast in recent times, and that trend looks set to continue over the next few years.
Shifting consumer habits have sparked a rise in the popularity of streaming platforms, with users increasingly attracted by the convenience that they provide.
This has allowed free sports streaming sites to cash-in by forging link-ups with sponsors and advertisers to monetise their operations.
Live streaming is now the ‘go-to’ medium for millions of sports fans worldwide – a factor that has forced traditional broadcast outlets to rethink their business models.
With the landscape in live sports coverage continuing to evolve rapidly, we take a look at some of the latest developments in the sector.
F1 in Talks With Amazon
Formula 1 is in talks with Amazon over live streaming deals as it seeks to cement its status as the world’s most valuable motorsports series.
F1’s outgoing chief executive, Chase Carey, confirmed to the Financial Times that he had held ‘substantive discussions’ with Amazon and other global digital platforms.
The organization has been actively seeking to unlock new revenues having incurred operating losses of $363 million in the first nine months of the year.
Their biggest broadcast deal is with Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, which is worth $250m per year in a deal that runs until 2024.
The news comes as no surprise, given that Amazon has been aggressively seeking to acquire the rights to top-class sports over the past few years.
This has included emerging as a genuine rival to Sky and BT Sports to cover live Premier League matches in the UK.
The company is eager to appeal to younger fans who are increasingly switching to watching sport online rather than other platforms.
Mehul Kapadia, CEO of the Motorsport Network, says F1’s bid to expand their digital footprint is a logical step to make in the current climate.
“Now people want a 24/7 experience,” he said. “The question is, how can you make your fans feel like they’re in the driver’s seat? That’s how the potential of the sport can be unlocked more.”
fuboTV Acquires Balto Sports
Live streaming platform fuboTV has moved into the online sports wagering market with its recent acquisition of Balto Sports.
fuboTV will leverage its own proprietary technology along with Balto’s contest automation software to launch a free-to-play gaming offering.
Balto’s team will join fuboTV to drive the expansion, which aims to grab a significant piece of revenues from the online sports wagering market.
David Gandler, co-founder and CEO, fuboTV, said: “As we said in our third-quarter earnings announcement last month, fuboTV sees the online wagering space as complementary to our sports-first live TV streaming platform.
“The acquisition of Balto Sports will enable us to build a first-class, free-to-play experience that brings consumers the best games around live sports.
“From there, we see a natural progression to layer on real money wagering in regulated markets complementing fuboTV’s live streaming video for a highly engaging user experience within our platform.
“We’re excited to launch sports wagering, integrate it into our core offerings and deliver what we believe will be a truly ground-breaking live TV streaming platform to consumers.”
DAZN Bullish About UK Expansion
DAZN has continued to expand its global presence by finally allowing UK-based users to subscribe to its streaming service.
Headquartered in London, DAZN initially launched in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan, before expanding to the United States, Canada, Brazil, Italy and Spain.
It marked its arrival in the UK by screening the heavyweight boxing clash between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev, and followed up with bouts featuring Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin.
DAZN’s executive vice-president, Joe Markowski, told City A.M. that the company would broaden its offering beyond top-class boxing over the coming months.
“We are laying the global foundation,” he said. “Speaking in architectural terms, we can now go and build very nice houses in different countries as and when we want to.
“Our decisions to invest heavily in specific markets will be shaped by consumer reaction – how readily a market adopts DAZN, the ease and cost of reaching them – and access to content and broader marketing opportunities.
“When consumer demand meets content and distribution opportunities, we’re going to be interested in a market. That’s when you’ll see us supersize – that’s the word we use internally – and double down hard on a given market.
“Even now, we’re assessing market viability. I think very quickly we’ll be in a position to take it to our board and then hopefully the market, supersizing various countries.
“When we do that we’ll put our foot down in various parts of the world more aggressively than we have done already.
“As a business, we’re tremendously excited about putting our foot down globally, and what opportunities come out of the platform launch in terms of supersizing.”