Going global: Live sports broadcasting innovation in 2024

December 7, 2023 by Mike Burk, GM, Managed Solutions

In the fiercely competitive sports streaming arena, premium rights to flagship sports properties are critical to growing and retaining your audience. This has caused the live sports broadcasting landscape to undergo a huge period of transformation and fragmentation. Major streaming services and tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and YouTube, which have traditionally focused on on-demand video content, are investing significantly in live sports rights, shaking up the status quo in the live sports streaming market. This evolution marks a notable shift from the age-old live sports broadcasting model, as viewers continue to migrate toward live streaming services as their de facto viewing method for premier sports events.

This transformation presents several challenges for broadcasters, sports streamers, and rights holders, now tasked with delivering high-value live events across multiple digital platforms at an unprecedented global scale. It’s worth considering that these types of live events weren’t originally designed to be distributed at scale — and many rights holders don’t have the infrastructure to manage the complexities of facilitating global cross-platform distribution.

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, the total value of sports media rights in the U.S. alone will surpass $30 billion by 2025. As rights buyers invest increasingly in high value sports properties, efficient content versioning and multi-platform distribution capabilities to maximize ROI on costly investments have never been more critical. In a world where getting close to your consumers is everything, content providers are quickly realizing they need specialized tools to ensure live events reach audiences worldwide — and on any platform. In 2024, innovative services like LTN Arc will help sports leagues, federations, and rights holders capitalize on growing global demand.

Grow your global engagement

Amid ongoing viewer shifts toward streaming platforms, content providers can engage with previously untapped global audiences at an unprecedented scale via digital distribution channels. Streaming subscribers today demand easy access to high-quality live content — it's one of the major pulls for any streaming service. As viewer expectations grow, content providers are continually challenged to deliver compelling live programming that resonates with a demanding subscriber base.

Providing digital audiences with tailored, culturally relevant live sports experiences requires a nuanced approach to content versioning. Powered by a unique and fully managed production service like LTN Arc, rights holders can simplify live event versioning at scale for digital audiences, repurposing and decorating centralized feeds into customized streams for global cross-platform distribution. This process enables content owners to create language-tailored, platform-specific versions of live events, facilitating regionalization at a massive scale and driving downstream monetization through targeted advertising.

LTN Arc has been proven on the biggest stages throughout 2023, tailoring live event content from major global sports leagues with local language commentary, custom graphics, and targeted advertising to help world-leading sports streamers pursue an effective global distribution strategy every day. In 2024, we’ll see media companies continue to harness pioneering content versioning technology to simplify the customization of sports content at scale, making live events more universally accessible and valuable than ever before.

Enhancing viewer engagement and supporting a successful international distribution roadmap depends on sports content being translated successfully to cater to various geographical regions and specific requirements of OTT platforms. Although flexible technologies for content decorating can assist in providing essential language-specific video elements for global sports fans to engage more deeply with niche live events, the data beneath video feeds is equally important for facilitating regionalization on a large scale. Enriching video streams with enhanced metadata signaling and SCTE triggers allows content owners to maximize downstream revenue while effortlessly meeting a diverse range of format requirements across international markets.

IP foundations for live sports broadcasting

The move to streaming necessitates robust, scalable, and flexible video transport solutions that can deliver global reach while maximizing monetization. Numerous media companies have already harnessed IP-based transport as a replacement for legacy distribution methods, but face a range of limitations with less sophisticated, protocol-only IP solutions. Underpinned by LTN’s multicast-enabled IP network with intelligent routing protocols and proprietary infrastructure, fully managed IP-based transmission solutions like LTN Wave overcome the complexities of internet delivery while providing high reliability, ultra-low latency, and meeting stringent SLAs.

Many of the newer, digital-native market entrants in today's hybrid broadcasting world lack the infrastructure often associated with full-time channel distribution. However, developing the technology internally to manage intricate live video distribution workflows can be time and resource intensive. To improve operational efficiency, limit costs, and streamline global distribution via digital platforms and FAST services, rights holders are adopting fully managed event versioning services and IP-based transmission foundations that help scale their teams and spin up services like master control systems on an event-specific basis.

Getting closer to sports fans

As consumer preferences evolve in 2024, so too will the strategy for producing live sports. In order to accommodate growing consumption on digital and mobile platforms, sports broadcasters are rethinking their production techniques. The challenge lies in providing greater production flexibility so that content owners can seamlessly create multiple versions of content that appeal to viewers on a diverse range of platforms. This may entail introducing different camera angles, custom graphics, and caption placement tailored to a number of viewer devices.

As viewing habits continue to shift from linear TV to mobile and other digital platforms, media companies must stay agile and keep creativity at the core. The aim is to produce content that is engaging and accessible, whether viewed on a large TV screen or a compact mobile device. In an increasingly global digital media landscape, the marrying of technical excellence, creative vision, and advanced production tools will be fundamental to ensuring that content remains compelling and relevant for the widest audience possible.

Managed services fueling live sports broadcasting in 2024

The importance of a strategic technology partner in the quickly changing live sports broadcasting industry cannot be underestimated. Many media companies are stepping beyond traditional workflows and methodologies to unlock greater operational efficiencies and capture the opportunities of global scale. Content owners are beginning to understand the game-changing advantages of utilizing tried-and-tested partnerships along with an OpEx-favored strategy to enable cost-efficient digital distribution at scale.

In live sports broadcasting, there are no second chances. Having a reliable managed services partner that can give you a good night’s sleep while helping you grow your global business is invaluable. Sports leaders who want to focus more on content creation and less on the technical intricacies of multi-platform, global distribution have it all to play for in 2024 — schedule a demo with us today if you’d like to find out more about LTN Arc.