OTT - the perfect playing field for streaming sports content

Jessica Anguiano | Tue May 31 2022 | Industry insights

Fans watching live streamed sports - Live sports is booming


Make your platform the right destination for a passionate audience.


In the words of the great Wayne Gretzky – and to get in the sports mood – “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” Nowadays, the attention of viewers is more elusive than a hockey puck; thus, it is of the utmost importance to understand viewer habits and “capture” viewer attention where it is going to be.


So, what type of content is the most captivating and most likely to drive live viewing? 


The most recent Parks Associates study reveals that 61% of live streaming consists of viewing a sporting event. The next closest category, newscasts, is a distant second place at only 30%.



Source: Graph showing content preferences of live streaming viewers, from by Parks Associates 


This trend in live streaming is also supported by a recent report from Ampere Analysis. The study suggests that over ⅓ of US sports fans now consume live sports content primarily through online streaming services. This shows how well suited online platforms are for delivering sports content.


Furthermore, sports fans that are kept highly engaged are willing to spend more on accessing content, than the less avid consumers. A recent Deloitte survey found that in-depth sports content consumption was linked to 20% higher spending than fans only consuming general sports news. This suggests that if broadcasters are able to do what it takes to keep their fans engaged, they can expect high returns on their investments.


Live sports streaming for everyone


One of the reasons live sport makes up such a large percentage of OTT content is the variety in sports fan demographics. Sports content attracts viewers of all ages and demographics. 


“Right now, sports content is key to drawing and keeping an engaged livestream viewer base,” Parks Associates director of research Paul Erickson said. “Even with content that benefits from live consumption – such as news and concerts – significantly fewer consumers are livestreaming this content compared to sports. The sports audience is significantly more engaged in livestreaming as a whole”.


Even traditionally illusive audiences are interested in sports content. “Consumers in the higher age brackets can be difficult to target, but livestreaming is one option that appeals to them, provided the provider delivers the right content.”


Diverse audiences make sports content a particularly attractive genre for media companies, as they are not limited to one specific customer demographic. With the wide variety of sports out there, any consumer can become a fan.


Elevate the viewer experience with multi-channel engagement 


Most households choose Smart TVs to watch sports content (60%), and over 40% of users tune into sports through their Smartphone. This alludes to a need to cater one’s OTT Sport Service for all devices, which doesn’t only mean having native applications across the ecosystem but making sure users will have access to every app regardless of where they chose to sign up from. 


This technical challenge is made easy by Cleeng Core’s capabilities, designed to handle, report and manage entitlements regardless of the payment method or app store. To learn more, take a tour of Cleeng's content monetization center with the short clip below:




Technology has also evolved to a new capability of interaction. This elevated user experience is what viewers now expect to see, to enhance the value proposition of the digital experience versus regular broadcasting. Some examples of the new types of sports fan interaction are:

  • Wagers
  • Trivia questions
  • Opinion polls
  • Access to a selection of camera angles 

One great example of the elevated user experience is the NFL Mobile App, which allowed users to interact with seven camera perspectives in the stadium, plus five at home during the Super Bowl 2021. This is next level personalization!

The more leagues, teams and broadcasters come together fostering innovation, the more likely they are to push casual fans to become loyalists.


The Most Loyal Subscribers


Every media company asks themselves, “who is the best target audience? Who will watch no matter what or where? Who needs to be up to date with the latest?” The answer: a fan!


There are several reasons why the subscription business is booming in sports:

  • Live sports are seasonal and recurring
  • Users who are interested in sports are way more likely to subscribe to an OTT service
  • The average entertainment expenditure is higher for live sports fans. 

This harmony of OTT/streaming and sports content explains why market leaders such as HBO Max, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ are keen to battle for the most valuable licensing rights in sports. The benefit is often mutual as the evolution of sports streaming means that fans now have more options to watch and follow their favorite sports leagues and teams throughout the year.


In the end, for media companies, good content draws viewers in, but the secret sauce behind subscriber retention almost always includes 3 ingredients: 1) great product usability, 2) an understanding of audience behaviors, and 3) a marketing approach tailored to the preferences and habits of customers. Through Cleeng’s ChurnIQ, OTT services can identify customer engagement and satisfaction, generate segments based on behavioral characteristics, and create messaging tailored to the various experiences of one’s customers… Now that’s a winning strategy!



Want to test out the ChurnIQ platform for yourself?


Try it out now



Cleeng SRM Product