03 / June / 2021

How sports OTT got through the pandemic?

OTT environment welcomed sports and quickly all the viewers appreciated the convinience and joy of this bond. Nevertheless, sports industry suffered a lot during last year. How OTT sports services got through it and what are main challenges and perspectives?

How sports OTT got through the pandemic?

Pandemic impact

The starting point for any discussion nowadays is the impact of the pandemic. The sports industry was significantly affected by lockdowns and social distancing, and this became a deciding moment for OTT sports organizations. There was a significant downtime as an initial response. And it was amazing how fast the industry adapted to these circumstances. 

Subscription services were extremely worried that their customers might unsubscribe and never come back, so it was crucial to find the ways that services can use to retain the audience. For example, Roku quickly implemented a subscription holiday option: consumers could watch sports rerun and highlight content for free whilst maintaining their account. This proved to be a good way to engage users.  

The Adaptation to New Circumstances

The pandemic has certainly highlighted just how important content discovery is. Experts noted that when sports returned after a pause, major league schedules were layered on top of each other. Before the pandemic, a coincidence of major sports events had happened only 21 times in history. But as schedules changed this became a mere occurrence. This phenomenon made it difficult for sport lovers to decide what to watch, or when; that directly affected fan engagement. Industry professionals know that decision fatigue has been impacting audiences engagement long before the pandemic began.  

Viewers certainly look for more personalized ways to discover content and reduce the effects of choice overload. 

A more customized approach to the sports experience will be a significant growth area in the future, particularly when it comes to the casual fan and helping them to discover and access the content, they care about.  

Show Me UX!

OTT sports subscribers traditionally enjoy a fairly richer environment compared to entertainment services. Features such as stats, scores and schedules have been integrated into platforms for some time now. 

It should be noticed that multiscreen is on the increase, and often users are engaging with another device while watching OTT services. Providers need to capitalize on this type of content and integrate personalized information directly into the main viewing screen so that subscribers don't miss a moment of the action. As well, content providers need to maximize social interactions around sport, with voice to text features which enable friends to share their own personal commentary. Among others co-viewing feature is going to become even more important in the future, coupled by options for subscribers to select the specific commentary they want to listen to. 

This type of made-to-measure experience could boost up any sports OTT service.