Editor’s Pick: Matter of time before OTT platforms blow Television out of water for live sports

December 19, 2020 | By : Kiran Thakare
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The growing clamour of OTT platforms is also going to change the way viewers are going to watch live sports across the globe.

Enjoying live sports in the stadium remains an extraordinary experience for a sports fan. The evolving technology in the last century meant that sports reached every house across the globe, first through radio and then television becoming the go-to device for people to enjoy sports from the comfort of their living room couch.

In the second half of the last decade, OTT platforms have come into the picture for live sports. These platforms were previously famous for the old and new content that involved short series. However, the involvement of Facebook for La Liga streaming rights in India and Amazon Prime getting a set of fixtures in the Premier League hinted that it is just the beginning.

The television industry has been holding out to audiences due to sports but exorbitant prices for monthly packages will surely putoff users. As per Fast Company, 1.3 million homes dropped cable connection in the USA during the second quarter of 2020. Since live sports were not going around the globe, clinging on to satellite TV subscription doesn’t make sense.

International cricket is also soon going to be influenced by the introduction of OTT platforms. Amazon Prime has already secured rights for streaming international games of New Zealand in India from next summer. Considering the success of IPL, it will not be a big surprise if Amazon and Netflix put their hats in the ring for broadcast rights. The amount of talent in the Indian domestic circuit is remarkable, so it is a possible pathway to get more revenue for BCCI by bringing an OTT platform onboard to stream domestic games.

Better experience for fans on OTT platforms

In India, Hotstar has been one of the go-to medium for people to watch live sports and live television on a yearly subscription that is much cheaper than a television package for a year. Moreover, the OTT platforms also make viewing far more interactive than television.

Take the case of the Indian Premier League on Hotstar, fans are allowed to win prizes for guessing the outcome of every ball. It further adds more intrigue to watching. Similarly, Facebook has the comments section for live La Liga games, giving fans a bigger forum to discuss the game with people across the globe.

Moreover, OTT platforms have also taken steps to give more coverage to behind the scenes at a big sports organization. Amazon has gone ahead with creating season long documentaries on Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester City. They recently launched a series on Indian Kabaddi team Jaipur Pink Panthers. A year-long documentary on the Australian cricket team is available on Prime, while Netflix covered a season of Mumbai Indians.

This is the type of content that keeps fans hooked and attract more viewers to these platforms. Streaming games and providing such type of content gives OTT platforms an upper hand over television.

Affordability and number of OTT platforms remains a concern

The only downside of switching from Television is the affordability of multiple OTT platforms for different sporting events. As of now, having a subscription of Sony Liv, Amazon Prime, FanCode, and Netflix for different sporting events can create a hole in the viewer’s pocket. It may put off the viewer if multiple sporting events are happening at the same time.

In such a scenario, mobile operators have stepped in by providing subscription plans for OTT plans along with recharge packages. Despite easing the burden by a bit, this is one area OTT platforms to work to make it much more user friendly or else people may revert to television in the long term.

There are still a few limitations OTT platforms have to work on to get a much bigger advantage over television subscription plans for sports enthusiasts. However, the tide is slowly turning as sports organizations are negotiating with the likes of Amazon and Netflix. It is a matter of time that OTT platforms dominate live sports.



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