Putting a Little English (Premier LG) on Steaming Sports

Why it matters to you: This is the first major sports league to offer 2nd tier games on stream only.

For the past several years, many of you have enjoyed a great value from the English Premier League Extra Time programming. These weekly games changed the position of EPL in our business and many of you have a healthy traffic built around that content. Unfortunately, that is about to change. This week’s EPL kick offs will not be available to you on DIRECTV. NBC holds the contract and has decided to monetize the second tier games that don’t make their national broadcast channels via a streaming-only approach.

This means that you will only see games on NBC Sports Network and the flagship NBC network chain. Otherwise, games that aren’t available on the NBC platform will be exclusively delivered via their Premier League Pass streaming package. We don’t know if their terms of use (TOU)allow you to access this package for your restaurant. However, we do encourage you to read the TOU and if they don’t mention public viewing, then have at it. It’s $50 for the entire season and will ensure you can show all of the games as long as you can stream content.

This is a bit of departure from the recent norms around pay per view content. None of the major sports in the US have any significant streaming only content, let alone the bulk of their national broadcast schedule. This is going to be a problem of sorts for those of you that have relied on this programming for these past few seasons. In fact, your only option is to integrate streaming into your AV system. We have discussed this many times and have maintained any serious sports themed operator must add a streaming facility to their AV offerings if they want to stay relevant as a sports bar.

So, how do you do it?

The easiest method is simply attaching a laptop via an HDMI cable directly to a TV and voila, you can show any streaming match immediately. This is called a Peer network and it means every TV will require it’s own device be connected to include streaming. This works as a quick fix but is somewhat impractical. You likely have a laptop exposed to guests this way and have to specially configure the TV to change inputs and display the source.

Another method is using a webcasting device like Chromecast or Apple TV. These devices allow you to show from the streaming device remotely to the TV. It’s a simply sync that is done between the device and the TV that shows what’s on the streaming device, but it can be left safely in an office. It also allows you to show the same signal on multiple TVs. It does however still require you configure the TV to accept the casting before and then return to normal after the stream is shown.

The most efficient and transformative approach is having a matrix based AV system that allows you to include content from a streaming device into your sources on the system. This means you don’t have to change individual TV programming, just route the source to the TV and it will play on any display you assign it to. This is optimal because then you can show the game on multiple TVs without any real heaving lifting.

All of these and any we didn’t mention depend on a solid internet service and a little preparation. In the age of everyone looking the same, accessing programming like the English Premier League for guests will make you look very different. In the end, sports fans go to the best place to watch the game and leveraging streaming content is a great way to prove your that place.