I have been preaching for years that the way TV will be consumed in the future is going to change. When the NFL aired a game on Yahoo! this season I was proven clairvoyant. The NFL’s experiment was a perfect use case for understanding the future of live sports on the Internet. USA Today broke down what they thought were the pros and cons of the live stream.
Pros: Focused on the mobile experience and the picture quality. US Today compared the game to broadcast quality and lauded the production values.
Cons: Some technical issues with buffering and it wasn’t on a TV, so screen size was limited. That is to say, the NFL is better viewed on a big TV.
However, the biggest revelation is the number of people unable to stream the game from their computers to their TVs because they lack the technical expertise. This means there is a market for those folks that want to see their favorite team in a sports bar atmosphere.
So, why is it important now?
Because there is so much online content available to show right now. Already the WWE and UFC offer direct to consumer content via their own streaming networks. Now that DIRECTV no longer carries WWE PPVs, many establishments have no choice but to get streaming if they want to feature wrestling. Roku, Xbox and other device based OTT(over the top) services are offering sporting event content as mainstream as ESPN, CBS, and the NBA League Pass package. Even Netflix would be interested in streaming live sports, according to their director of content.
Build an online sports streaming strategy
So, where does that leave you as a sports themed operator?
Well, that’s the quandary. You certainly don’t want to make a huge commitment to equipment that will quickly become obsolete, but you realize there is something there.
Below are a couple of easy steps you can take now to get in the game without a huge financial or time commitment.
Plug in. Get a Chromebook or similar Internet-enabled and simple (read: inexpensive) device. Figure out how to connect it to your existing system. If you are even marginally adept this will take you about 30 minutes. Now you can show streaming content on your TVs.
Find the games. Every day on the SportsTV Guide we feature Internet-streaming major events for your consumption. Therefore you have a simple and easy-to-use resource that will improve your responsiveness to the guests’ requests.
Use the in-advance info on the SportsTV Guides to find games you can show that will be of interest to your current or potential audience. Reach out to local alumni groups and make your case for being the place for them. “If your game is televised we can show it, even if it’s exclusively online!”
Communicate with your staff. Make sure your entire team knows you have Internet-streaming capabilities and how it works so guests aren’t turned away.
Tell the world. Make sure your patrons (new and old) and your surrounding market know that you can stream online-only games. Blog about your streaming chops and get the word out through your social media presence. The word will spread. Let alumni groups know about your streaming capabilities so they can let their alumni know where to go to watch the games. You could even set up viewing parties!
Also get your staff bragging about streaming sports, posting on social media and consistently making streams available to your guests. You will build an audience. All it takes is one person per week spending their hard earned money in your joint to make this enterprise a worthy endeavor.
You win loyal guests one heart at a time and nothing melts hearts more than seeing their favorite sport/team displayed at their favorite sports bar. Let that bar be yours.