Sports fans show huge appetite for appropriate streaming packages | Media Analysis | Business
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Research from Verizon Media has revealed huge opportunity for live sports streaming if fans can get access to the right leagues and teams, namely a league or team that interests them, but cost is currently leading to cancellations when content packages aren’t compelling enough.
vrizon sportssurvey 25Feb2020
The Viewing Shifts: How We Watch Sport research looked at what fans want from services that let them stream live sports. It was conducted by Sapio Research amongst 5,000 sports fans in the US, UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands and found that the opportunity for content providers streaming live sports is huge, as long as they offer greater personalisation, better viewing options and a different advertising experience better suited to a streaming environment.

Almost two-thirds (63%) said that they would consider paying - or paying more if they already do so - for a live sports streaming service if it offered coverage of a sports league or team that interests them. Less than half (47%) of respondents with a premium subscription felt that the packages that they currently owned gave them access to all the teams they want to watch, pointing to a market with plenty of opportunity for growth.

Just over half of sports fans indicated that they specifically use streaming services to follow sports that are not available anywhere else, liking the flexibility and high-quality experience streaming gives them. Namely, 39% used a streaming service because it allowed them to watch on their smartphone and 32% opted to stream live sports in 4K Ultra HD. Over a third (37%) of respondents said that they chose to stream live sports over-the-top because it was a less expensive alternative to satellite or cable pay-TV.

Yet despite their basic enthusiasm for packages, fans warned that would have no problem in cancelling if they didn’t see value. Indeed, over a third (37%) of sports fans had cancelled a live streaming subscription, with almost half (45%) citing cost as the primary reason. The most passionate sports consumers — defined as those who consume over 11 hours of live sports content in a week, while casual sports consumers were those who consume anywhere between one and five hours — cancelled services due to a lack of coverage of the teams they follow (23%), a hard-to-use interface (15%) or inordinate delay behind live (19%).

Approximately a third of sports fans said looking for more control over the live experience, wanting access to replay controls like slow motion (35%), the ability to switch between camera angles (30%), time shifting (30%) and the ability to skip ads (30%). The survey also revealed significant interest in getting easier access to match highlights (42%), and libraries of on-demand content (22%). When asked to choose between quality and latency, named choosing between 4K Ultra HD or improvements to the gap between true live and pictures appearing on screen, two thirds of sports fans (66%) went for picture quality.

Looking at monetisation capabilities, 86% of sports fans expected streaming services to offer a different ad experience, with over half (54%) expecting fewer adverts and around a third (29%) wanting more personalized advertising and offers.

Commenting on the findings revealed by the Viewing Shifts: How We Watch Sport report, Verizon Media chief product officer Ariff Sidi said: “There is a huge opportunity for content providers to reshape the entire landscape of live sports by offering more choice and deeper coverage of specific teams. There is the potential to build global audiences around niche sports and leagues that don’t currently get enough airtime, but to do so they must employ the latest and most flexible technology resources. The industry talks a lot about streaming services being ‘TV-like’ but sports fans actually want a different experience that puts them in total control. Streaming services are much more capable of innovating because they have the luxury of using advanced technology that can serve every consumer need from day one.”