A paradigm shift is currently underway in the sports industry as content owners are moving towards direct-to-consumer business models. This transformation has primarily begun with top leagues and the ones that lack lucrative TV distribution agreements. Streaming services are found compelling as they allow leagues to redefine how they connect with their fans, partners, and advertisers. OTT has emerged as a new approach to improve leagues’ reach.

However, grassroots sports, despite their potential, have remained largely neglected, partly due to the absence of viable business models. Consequently, this has lead to a situation where most games are streamed on social media platforms, leading to a loss of control over how the sports are portrayed to fans and other stakeholders. 

Solving the grassroots sports streaming and monetization challenge is pivotal for federations, clubs, athletes, and fans alike. Acknowledging the challenges faced by grassroots sports in terms of visibility, control over content, and monetization, 

Icareus’ vision is centered around these three key drivers for change 

1. Improved game and event discovery,
2. Democratized content production,
3. A sustainable and inclusive business model.

1

One of the primary concerns is the fragmented nature of grassroots sports streaming, scattered across various social media platforms, making it challenging for fans to discover and follow their favorite teams and events. Streaming has become a wild west where federations and clubs have completely lost their control on how their sports is portrayed to fans. The driving change that is needed lies in enhancing game and event discovery, moving it away from social media and consolidating all streaming onto a single user-friendly platform, simplifying the process of game discovery and enhancing the overall fan experience.  

2

The next challenge is to get as many games streamed as possible. We must recognize the importance of inclusive content production, given that it is unfeasible for federations or clubs to manage it centrally.  This necessitates the collective inclusion of team managers, parents, friends, and family to the content production workflows. To facilitate their onboarding, there is a need for user-friendly tools and autonomy for the “grassroots streamers.”

3

The final motivation to get everyone onboard is monetization. A sustainable and mutually beneficial business model is crucial to ensure that all stakeholders find value in the process. This can be achieved by applying the platform economics principle, where most of the revenues can be routed directly to the clubs, without complicated accounting processes. Empowering grassroots sports not only fosters talent development but also taps into new revenue streams within an underserved market. 

Once we can achieve these three key drivers, there will be an explosion of grassroot sports streaming! 

Unfortunately, traditional sports streaming platforms often prioritize major leagues, sidelining grassroots events and tournaments. In response, Icareus has developed a cloud platform that brings all the stakeholders together for the production and consumption of games. At the same time, it improves fan engagement and loyalty. 

Icareus leverages crowdsourcing to turn virtually everyone into content creators, facilitating event and game streaming. The Icareus Sports OTT solution aggregates content from grassroots events within a specific sport, creating a one-stop destination for fans to access games, from top leagues to the smallest matches, all on a single video portal bearing the federation’s or club’s branding. In essence, it gives federations and clubs complete control over how games are streamed, the user experience, and the business model, facilitating a stronger connection with fans. 

Monetization is achieved through subscription models, pay-per-view options, and targeted advertising. Moreover, the platform’s business model ensures that the majority of the revenues generated are directed towards the grassroots teams, a pioneering step in the industry. 

In practice, all beloved sports content, from children’s leagues to senior divisions, can be found from a single source, seamlessly integrated and easily discoverable. By fostering this collaborative and integrated approach to sports streaming, the platform not only amplifies the reach and impact of grassroots sports but also creates a dynamic and engaging environment that benefits everyone involved, from the federations and clubs to the dedicated fans and players. 

In summary

The benefits of this holistic approach extend beyond mere convenience, with the potential to reshape the landscape of grassroots sports streaming, providing a sustainable and profitable model that caters to the needs of all stakeholders. 

Icareus Ltd is an online video cloud and broadcast TV specialist founded in 2001 and having offices in Finland and Spain. Icareus provides video cloud solutions and trusted broadcast TV platforms, and our solutions are enjoyed by millions of consumers via our broadcaster, operator, OTT and OVP customers in over 60 countries.  Combining online and broadcast has been the core of our activities over almost two decades. We’ve been making the change from linear TV to today’s multi-screen experience. 

More information: https://www.icareus.com  

Icareus Sports OTT is a turnkey white-label video cloud solution for sports of all kinds, team or individual, from floorball and football to tennis and martial arts. It offers versatile tools for the production, management, publication and (optionally) commercialization of sports videos and events. Both professional leagues and “grass roots” non-professional sports clubs can make use of this solution. 

More information: https://icareus.com/solutions-for-customer-groups/sports/ 

Meet us at Sportel Monaco

The Global Sports Media and Tech Convention

 

23. – 25. October 2023

Grimaldi Forum, Monaco

StandS05

Icareus Video Cloud for Sports

In the Icareus Video Cloud, you produce, manage and publish both communication videos and events without technical know-how. Video players, pages, virtual events and portals that match your brand guarantee a consistent user experience for viewers, so your message gets across effectively.

Are you working in sports federations, leagues, or other professional sports organizations? The use of streaming services in sports is continuously growing. Icareus Video Cloud for Sports is a GDPR-compliant and fully brandable streaming platform tailored for sports organizations. It can be used for:

  • Streaming services for national or international sports and leagues, promoting the sport.
  • Grassroots (amateur and junior) sports video services with easy match production, including a mobile app.
  • Streaming tournaments and competition events.
  • Organizational communication, marketing, and training, including video editing, video management, and publishing.

11 highlights of the 11th HbbTV Symposium 

Discover the dynamic landscape of television technology as we dissect the highlights from the 11th HbbTV Symposium in Naples, Italy. From broadcasters embracing direct-to-consumer models to advancements in HbbTV standards like OppApp, the blog post navigates through the evolving trends that promise to redefine the television viewing experience.

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The Finnish Pesäpallo Federation launched its new video platform, PesisTV, in July of this current year. The platform made its debut in conjunction with three national camps: Kankaanpää Kid Camp, Joensuu Grand Camp, and Oulu Youth Camp.

PesisTV

Pesäpallo is the Finnish version of baseball, and as part of the Finnish Pesäpallo Federation, the Finnish Baseball and Softball Federation operates as the governing body for baseball and softball in Finland.

During its pilot month, PesisTV provided a new and excellent way to enjoy the highlights of young baseball players, with evident success. Even though the camps already gathered a large number of on-site supporters, the video platform offered the opportunity to watch games live from the comfort of one’s own home. Viewers from all around Finland got to enjoy a virtual coverage of a total of 450 matches during the three camps, and this opportunity was eagerly embraced. The camps achieved impressive numbers: there were nearly five thousand registered viewers, streamed games were watched for over 7700 hours, and the highest concurrent viewership occurred during the Youth Camp’s CT competition, with a whopping 443 viewers tuning in!

Registered viewers
> 0
Streamed games
0
Streamed hours viewed
> 0

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the camps’ contribution to the production, as it was the camps themselves that were responsible for the match production.

The development of PesisTV was handled by the Finnish technology company Icareus Ltd. Icareus Ltd is a respected player in Finland, with extensive experience in collaborating with sports clubs and federations. The company has successfully partnered with organizations like F-Liiga and the Finnish Floorball Federation. Icareus Ltd’s strong experience and expertise have played a crucial role in the development of the Baseball Federation’s new video platform.

In the future, we can certainly anticipate even more exciting moments as PesisTV continues to grow, delivering unforgettable experiences for baseball enthusiasts both from the sidelines and the comfort of their own homes.

“The launch of PesisTV was a great success during the nationwide summer camps. The service was well-received, allowing us to bring the joy of camp games live to homes.”

Miika Rantatorikka
Executive Director, Finnish Pesäpallo Federation

“For us at Icareus, sports is a central area of focus that we want to invest in. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Pesäpallo Federation in bringing the PesisTV service to our national pastime.”

Toni Leiponen
Toni Leiponen
CEO, Icareus Ltd

Contact us for more info:

Jessica Glad

Marketing & Communications
Icareus Ltd
E-mail: jessica.glad[at]icareus.com
Phone: +358 (0)9 2289 0801

The Finnish Pesäpallo Federation organizes both recreational and competitive activities in baseball. The highest level of baseball in Finland is Superpesis, and Superpesis matches are available on the Ruutu service. Baseball has maintained its position as Finland’s national game and is the country’s third most popular ball sport. Its top leagues in Finland are Men’s Superpesis and Women’s Superpesis. There are a total of 360 registered baseball clubs in Finland, with 18,000 licensed adult and junior players.

Icareus Ltd, founded in 2001, is a growing and profitable Finnish company specialized in video cloud services. Approximately 60% of our sales come from outside Finland, and internationally, our main customers consist of video professionals such as TV channels, TV operators, and media companies. Over the years, we have accumulated clients from around 60 countries, spanning Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, as well as South and North America.

Icareus Video Cloud is the most versatile online SaaS cloud video service in Europe, catering to a diverse range of users including sports organizations, TV channels, operators, corporations, public entities, and even micro-enterprises. Icareus Suite offers numerous features such as virtual and hybrid events, live broadcasts, video-on-demand streaming, customizable video portals, video captioning and editing tools, social media integrations, subscriber management, ad control, paywalls, and a convenient mobile application for uploading videos from phones. All of Icareus’ video services are brand-safe, customer-branded solutions tailored to specific customer preferences.

Relevant material

Downloads & further reading

Additional materials regarding this article

Further information about the service and its numerous applications.

Read more about the customizable Icareus Sports Video Cloud on our website:

In the autumn of 2022, the Finnish Floorball Federation launched their own, Icareus built and hosted branded OTT service, FloorballTV (official name in Finnish: SalibandyTV). Its goals were clear and simple: to enable clubs to easily stream their games and monetize them, for the sport to have a single place for all video content, and for that place to be easily discoverable.  

The heart of the matter is that we genuinely are doing this for the Finnish floorball community and for the floorball clubs. The federation and a few stakeholders will invest in this, and when a club streams a game on FloorballTV 80-90 percent of the ticket sale revenue is automatically returned directly to the club. Such high revenue return percentages have not been reached before. In this way, clubs will have an excellent way to generate revenue for their activities, Mr. Jussi Ojala, the communications director of the Finnish Floorball Federation, explained. 

After the first six months it’s quite clear that FloorballTV is a resounding success. Hundreds of registered clubs, thousands of streamed games, tens of thousands of registered users and happy viewers. The revenues have also exceeded all the floorball clubs’ expectations. 

What, then, made the launch so successful? A number of things: 

  • The content is easily discoverable, and thus viewers have found it. 
  • It’s widely accepted by the floorball community; it is, after all, from the players to the players. 
  • The clubs and the federation have been actively promoting it as “our own media”. It’s also providing good sponsorship placements for the federation via display and video advertising. 
  • The streaming of games is very easy with a purpose built mobile application included in the service, which has led the clubs to actively stream their games. 
  • Paid games bring income to everyone from Division I to the “grassroots” junior leagues – with the clubs getting most of the revenue. 

The community has embraced FloorballTV with great enthusiasm and will likely keep on that path. 

The future roadmap for the Floorball TV service will add various features like scoreboards, integration to statistics services, subscription services in addition to pay-per-view, tournaments and using AI based automatic cameras. 

Finnish Floorball Federation was founded on September 23, 1985. The floorball federation is a nationwide sports organization whose purpose is to promote, supervise and guide the hobby and development of floorball in Finland. Floorball is the third most popular sport in Finland after football and ice hockey, according to registered players (over 65,000 license players) at the moment. The Finnish Floorball Federation has about 800 member clubs. It is a founding member of the International Floorball Federation (IFF). Floorball is played in 80 countries and the International Floorball Federation  has 75 member countries from all inhabited continents. The IFF has ranked 46 countries in the men’s series and 40 countries in the women’s series. 

More information: https://salibandy.fi/ and https://salibandy.tv/

Icareus Ltd is an online video cloud and broadcast TV specialist founded in 2001 and having offices in Finland and Spain. Icareus provides video cloud solutions and trusted broadcast TV platforms, and our solutions are enjoyed by millions of consumers via our broadcaster, operator, OTT and OVP customers in over 60 countries.  Combining online and broadcast has been the core of our activities over almost two decades. We’ve been making the change from linear TV to today’s multi-screen experience. 

More information: https://www.icareus.com  

Icareus Sports OTT is a turnkey white-label video cloud solution for sports of all kinds, team or individual, from floorball and football to tennis and martial arts. It offers versatile tools for the production, management, publication and (optionally) commercialization of sports videos and events. Both professional leagues and “grass roots” non-professional sports clubs can make use of this solution. 

More information: https://icareus.com/solutions-for-customer-groups/sports/ 

SalibandyTV_allekirjoitus_Toni-Mikko-Pekka-Jussi

In the picture: Mr Toni Leiponen, CEO and Mr Mikko Karppinen Development Director from Icareus, Mr Pekka Ilmivalta, Executive Director and Mr Jussi Ojala Communication Director of the Finnish Floorball Association. 

Helsinki, 23.5.2022, The life of floorball fans has never been as great as will be the following years as Finnish floorball association will launch a new FloorballTV and the F-League will be available on Sanoma’s Ruutu service until 2028. FloorballTV brings together all the other broadcasts of Finnish floorball.

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Helsinki, 09.12.2021, The Finnish floorball league F-Liiga has released a new paid video service for international F-Liiga fans. The technology platform for F-Liiga TV is the Icareus Suite video cloud service.

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Helsinki, 23.04.2020 Westend Indians, one of Finland’s largest floorball and football clubs playing in the floorball league, announced an advanced Tribal TV video service for the 2019-2020 season. Tribal TV includes four different Live Streaming channels, an open video library for all, and a coaching section for coaches with training and educational videos.

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