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:
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.
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.”
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.
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/