BT Sport, the sports division of UK telecommunications company BT, is rumored to be acquired by sports streamer DAZN in another sign of how the live sports field is being churned online.
In-game sports betting, synchronized watch parties, in-stadium multi-angle replays, integrated player statistics and data, and aggregated companion content are all on the live sports horizon.
There are other obvious trends too: remote production is here to stay, processing moves to closer to video origination at the network edge (speeding workflow issues) and more direct-to-consumer (DTC) apps will drive more content than ever before.
And some less apparent trends, as noted in a blog post by encoding vendor Videon Labs.
The company calculates that 30,000 live events have been scheduled In 2022. This seems a massive underestimate, but even so the industry “will not have enough professionals to ‘man’ all of them.” Factor in all the companion content needed for storytelling and gamification, and we have a dilemma.
“With a drop in hands on deck and talent to fill positions, our industry must move in the direction of increased automation. This automation will allow the industry to produce more content even with a decrease in available talent.”
To keep consumers coming back for more, it’s no longer enough to have standard live game hday presentations with shoulder programming. In the drive for fan engagement, sports franchises need to “heighten the drama” by bringing the lives of the players to DTC apps.
“Uncomfortable moments between quarters — like conversations in the locker-room and during team workouts — will be captured and monetized,” the company predicts. “We will see fascinating enhancements in community building and storytelling for the franchises.”
At the end of 2021, Sky Deutschland made two trials using 5G technology. One, at Bundesliga club Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena, trialed an in-stadium app that offered spectators five different feeds to watch live via mobile phones.
“What we’ve seen with Sky Deutschland shows that our smart devices can make any seat in a stadium an immersive experience. Attendees can experience live events with low latency stats, replays, angles, and more through their mobile devices. These experiences… create new ways to enjoy events while adding monetization to ticket sales even in substandard seating. The biggest transformation making in-stadium experiences possible could be the application of private high speed 5G applications.”
Videon’s own core technology is video compute platform EdgeCaster, which the company explains can be used as part of a live workflow
“Instead of sending video to the cloud, video is sent directly from a camera or video source to EdgeCaster. Using this on-premise platform with Videon’s LiveEdge software, the solution has the ability to run custom python scripts, docker containers, and a full suite of encoding and packaging, enabling lower cloud processing costs while achieving significant latency reduction. All of this leads to a simplified workflow.”