Following Chelsea FC’s fantastic win over Arsenal in the mid-week Europa Cup and ahead of BT Sport’s live YouTube broadcast of tomorrow’s Champions League final, Richard Craig-McFeely, Strategy & Marketing Director, Digital Media at InterxionUser, says user experience is key to the success of streaming of live sports
“BT Sport’s decision to live stream both the Europa League and Champions League finals for free on YouTube demonstrates the confidence broadcasters are placing in video streaming to showcase exclusive content. Saturday’s Champions League final will no doubt draw a large audience and BT Sport has won lots of admirers among football fans since it began streaming live matches.
“Broadcasters appreciate that end users want to access live and exclusive content on a variety of different devices, from smartphones to smart TVs. Live streaming allows broadcasters to extend their reach and deliver content to a larger audience, across different platforms. However, if the user experience isn’t up to scratch, due to buffering or poor picture quality, customers could stop using the service.
“There is a strong business case for streaming content, but it can’t be done at the expense of the end user experience. That’s why traditional broadcasters and service providers are using highly connected data centres to distribute live sports content to fans. This allows them to get closer to the end user, and to ensure the levels of quality customers expect from the trusted live and video-on-demand services that they access at home, or on the move.
“But, the sports media landscape is changing. Rights holders are increasingly aware that live sports content has global appeal and they are looking to reach audiences outside of the UK. Many of these audiences can be found in mobile-first countries where video streaming platforms are the preferred method of viewing.
“As content providers become more confident about the reliability of live streaming, we expect to see more examples of major sporting events being broadcast online. This will give larger audiences access to live events and it will give broadcasters and rights holders a platform to deliver services globally.”