Ok that’s probably a bit of an over statement. But I believe there is value in pretty much all organised sport being streamed online. Even at the most amature levels – where TV coverage wouldn’t have been justified in the past – the players will have family and mates who’d love to see them play. If a team is representing a whole town just because it won’t make BBC One or Sky Sports doesn’t mean that there is no interest in a fixture, it’s just not of big enough interest for the major broadcasters to run it. But I believe most people within a given town or city would watch their local semi-pro/amature team go for glory in a tournament, if it’s available for them to watch, an even wider selection of people who would ordinarily make the pilgrimage to their local ground.
Now there is an argument that this might reduce ticket sales if people know they can watch the games on YouTube, Facebook or elsewhere. It’s an argument I understand but I’d like to counter. At Premier League level yes if people can watch in the comfort of their own home some people would choose that over shelling out £60 to be there in person but at an amature level with much more affordable tickets and a lot of people there just for the love of their game and the buzz of the occasion, these people are likely to attend regardless of what coverage is available. Secondly I believe that social media can be used to multiply interest in matches, so suddenly when people see their local team in a semi-final of a competition being streamed they tune in and get behind them. Then they realise the excitement of amature sport and I believe it may mean that it’ll spark the idea of going to a game the following week. It’s about making smaller teams relevant to a greater number of people.
Over the last year and a half we’ve had the privilege of covering a wide variety of sporting events that wouldn’t have otherwise had any media coverage, apart from maybe a few lines in the local press or a couple of posts on Facebook.
In the 2017/2018 season on one of our first tester projects we had the exciting job of covering Sutton Coldfield RFC’s men and women’s teams. The club had filmed games before, mainly for training purposes but never streamed them. We took this opportunity to test technology that we would use to make our 1 or 2 man multi-camera operation possible, therefore making covering events affordable and without needing a massive team of people to operate all the equipment.
Luckily the Women’s side in the first full season reached the final of the RFU Junior Cup. This again proved the value of the streaming as the game was in Henley-On-Thames so only about 100 people were in attendance. We had messages coming in from all over the world from people watching their family members do their hometown proud.
In late 2018 we also took on one of our largest online sport video production projects to date. A project that would see us cover over 8 different disciplines for live streaming as diverse as Rugby Union to Volleyball. The live streams we created would go on to reach thousands of views both during and after the event and shorter content made from the source material of those live feeds would often double of triple engagement. This meant the UOB Sport departments social media impact was increased and more people had an insight into the level sport at the University.
This is great exposure for clubs and great way of increasing awareness however there are also ways coverage can be monetized. Coverage could be an extra outlet for club sponsors and their are even options to charge for games on a pay per view basis.
Using our new technology and small crews (never more than 2) has had its limitations and we’re still improving and working to improve what we do with every broadcast. But it has allowed us to offer a credible multi-camera service, with TV style graphics and often with commentary, to teams and clubs where it just hasn’t been cost effective or practical in the past.
If you’re involved with a club or you’re an organiser of sport that are interested in streaming get in contact and I’d be happy to help.