What’s next for the live sports experience? Looking to 2020 and beyond


by Jason Bradwell

With 2019 slowly winding to a close, here at Deltatre we’ve started to reflect on a dynamic year of technological innovation in the way fans consume sport and how this will continue to develop over the next 12 months


by Jason Bradwell

With 2019 slowly winding to a close, here at Deltatre we’ve started to reflect on a dynamic year of technological innovation in the way fans consume sport and how this will continue to develop over the next 12 months

One of the most interesting developments to come out of the year for us has been to follow the national fanfare around Amazon and its broadcast of 20 live Premier League games.

Distributing the games across its Prime Video Service, the e-commerce giant worked to elevate the game beyond the traditional broadcast experience. Access to line-ups, stats and highlights were made available throughout; over 43 pundits lent their commentary skills to keep viewers informed and entertained throughout the matches.

For us here at Deltatre the broadcast was yet another validation point in our history of delivering immersive video experiences. Since 2009, when we first launched our advanced OTT player DIVA, we have synchronized real-time data with rich interactivity live sports.

Yes, the product today looks very different to what it did a decade ago (we’ve added in-player alerts, data displays, timeline alerts, multi-stream and multi-angles, amongst other functionality) but the premise is still the same – to elevate sport beyond simply ‘watching the game’.

Below we share a few thoughts on what the next 12-18 months hold for live sports consumption. Read on!

#1. Data

Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result – at least that’s according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

For many working in sport and entertainment, leveraging audience data to drive decision-making is a no-brainer. Netflix is perhaps the greatest example of the application of analytics to build strong, long-lasting customer relationships. But acquiring a level of visibility on your users is one thing; applying insights practically something else entirely.

In 2020 we anticipate a move away from the dashboard and the adoption of tools that enable those running digital services on the front-line – content editors, marketers, campaign managers – to make rapid, data-driven decisions around the user experience.

These platforms will track audience activity across every touchpoint, make it simple to customise individual components on a page (e.g. call-to-action, promotions and design) all without writing a line of code.

From a developer experience, implementing these tools into existing technology infrastructure will be seamless.

#2. Interactivity

Acquiring new users is one thing; engaging them in a market that has never been more competitive a whole different ballgame. As content becomes more readily available across different platforms thanks to non-exclusive licensing rules, particularly in foreign markets, rights holders have to become more creative in their retention strategies.

One of the ways to achieve this is through investing in the fan experience around the content. How do you elevate a simple blog post? What features can you implement on top of a live video stream? When is the right time to push notifications highlighting action in another game or sport?

Here at Deltatre, we’ve seen a steady increase over the last 3 to 4 years in operators focussing their attention on the fan experience. It’s worked. We conducted a survey earlier this year which revealed an average 24% year-on-year increase on the number of paying subscribers to digital services that put extra time and money into new features and better design.

In 2020 we expect to see a surge in operators building out their web, apps and OTT services with next-gen features that help them stand out from their competitors. One of the ways in which they'll do this is through the video player experience itself, enhancing the live stream with dynamic highlights, multi-angle, 360-degree support and real-time data visualisations - all features of our own DIVA player, coincidently.

Combined with a deeper understanding of user data and the tools in which to put this understanding into practice will be a winning combination.

Want to learn more about our advanced OTT player, DIVA? Click here to download.

#3. Production

More fans than ever are watching sports; that much is a certainty. What is also clear is that the cost and complexity of producing live events, from in-stadium through to digital delivery, has never been higher. More platforms mean more production.

This has started a conversation within the boardrooms of the world’s largest rights owners and rights holders on how to maintain (ideally improve) quality while minimizing overall expenditure and streamlining efficiency. Not an easy task to achieve, especially when the results of failure around live events can be so catastrophic.

Ultimately it comes down to flexibility and working with proven, cloud-based systems that meet your unique requirements – meaning more content can be created faster. The goal is to free up internal teams to focus more on the creative and storytelling, rather than navigating a technically heavy production stack.

Over the next 12 months and across two of the world’s most-watched sporting events, we expect to see significant strides taken across the live production space from AI-enabled operations, richer match data analytics captured and distributed in real-time, and a greater reliance on remote production. And, with over thirty years’ experience helping to deliver these events, anticipate to see us here at Deltatre taking the first steps.


What do you think 2020 holds for the live sports experience? Join the conversation on Twitter or LinkedIn.


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