The sports rights landscaping is changing. With more live-streaming and OTT platforms entering the market, these could provide the space women’s sports need to showcase coverage and reach a wider demographic.
Broadcasters have always chosen to display the sports that will gain them the best viewing figures. Therefore, even though women’s sports have growing fan bases all around the world, coverage has been lacking on our TV screens. With the introduction of live-streaming and OTT platforms smaller sports no longer need to hope for a break in TV schedules or be shown during unsociable hours. Instead, organisations have the opportunity to create agreements which allow for content to be made available to the public online.
Live-Streaming and OTT Platforms
The rise of OTT represents a shift in viewing habits away from linear television and on to streaming-enabled devices. Improvements in infrastructure, network connectivity and technology have normalised video consumption on smartphones. This change in behaviour has the opportunity to spread coverage to a wider range of demographics and monitor behaviour habits.
There is a range of OTT services and streaming platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Eleven Sports, Twitter and Google. Through the use of these platforms, sports organisations have to means to go direct-to-consumer live and on-demand. An increasing amount of clubs and associations have recognised the potential and are exploring these as a means to increase fan engagement and awareness.
The WSL signed an agreement this year to show live coverage of the male and female championship tour on Facebook. As a corporation, it has a true understanding of how to use social media to increase reach and engagement through photos, live videos and interviews on social media. The introduction of the championship tour on Facebook is the next step in providing live-coverage to their worldwide fan base as the heats take place.
Women’s football is growing in the UK and is fastly becoming one of the most competitive women’s leagues in the world. As a result, clubs are attracting some of the world best players and with these comes their supporters. As part of the redevelopment and league structure the FA Women’s Super League, has found a new home on Facebook Live as well as the BBC Sport website for their ‘free to air’ games each weekend.
The future of women’s sport and OTT and Live Streaming Platforms
There is perhaps an evolution underway that sees an increasing emphasis being placed on online coverage. Through the use of social media and online highlights, the future of women’s sports has the potential to grow and reach a wider engaged audience. The more people interested in the content, watching live, liking and sharing on social media, clubs and association will become more attractive to new sponsors. By taking advantage of new technology and changing viewing habits there is a real chance leagues could experience unprecedented growth and receive financial gains to investing within.