Top 4 challenges to monetizing live sports broadcasting — and how to overcome them

June 28, 2023

In the past 20 years, the sporting world has undergone a huge technological transformation. Player evaluation has become more data driven, precision equipment is used to fine-tune performance, and every play is analyzed and reanalyzed to find a competitive edge. The result? Greater success on the playing field and in the boardroom.

Meanwhile, live sports broadcasting is undergoing a transformation of its own, creating plenty of opportunities for leagues, teams, and rights holders to become stronger, faster, and more profitable. But to turn your challenges into opportunities, you’ll need to be as technical about live streaming as teams are about winning.

Challenge #1: Changing customer expectations

It’s no secret customers’ viewing habits are changing. They increasingly expect enhanced coverage that lets them change camera views, zoom in, replay, and more. They almost certainly have more than one streaming subscription — and may even have more than one game playing at the same time. Plus, they could be watching on any platform, from anywhere in the world.

The opportunity: Meet your customers where they are

Engaging today’s customers means you need global, cross-platform distribution that can reach into every screen, around the world, and deliver customized, relevant content. Done right, it also allows you to reach new audiences and drive additional revenue streams.

LTN Arc has the global reach and versioning capabilities to provide hundreds or thousands of localized streams, on any device and in any country. It enables seamless SCTE insertion, video insertion, slating, and watermarking, plus custom graphics, highlights, and more. And you can add remote announcers or voiceovers in the local language.

Challenge #2: Increased fragmentation

Changing viewing habits have transformed the live sports broadcasting landscape. Competition is increasing as new players enter the market and rights holders fragment their distribution models to maximize profits. Leagues are splitting up rights, as seen in last year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) deal, which saw streaming rights go to Viacom18 and broadcast rights to Disney. Other leagues and teams are launching their own services. It’s a complex new environment, but change also brings opportunities.

The opportunity: Leverage new technologies

The proliferation of OTT platforms means more feeds, which need to be centralized, decorated, and delivered to customers seamlessly, wherever they are. Traditional business models meant building expensive, time-consuming infrastructure and a heavy investment in CapEx. But today, more content doesn’t have to mean more costs.

Arc allows broadcasters and rights holders to shift to an OpEx-based approach, leveraging our cutting-edge infrastructure, deep experience, and partnership-centered philosophy. We handle every aspect of large-scale versioning — ingest, aggregation, normalization, egress, and monitoring — without the need for third-party software. That means you can scale operations while remaining agile.

Challenge #3: Moving from satellite to IP-based broadcasting

Satellite broadcasting revolutionized television. But today, it’s quickly becoming outdated, especially for live sports broadcasting. Sports fans want reliable, crystal-clear pictures with no lag — because there’s nothing worse than a pixelated or frozen screen during the game-winning goal or final serve. Live sports broadcasting also demands a faster frame rate than other content and is more sensitive to latency issues. IP-based broadcasting is on the rise as a cheap, flexible, high-bandwidth solution. But you don’t want just any IP provider.

The opportunity: Upgrade your IP

The tens of thousands of independent IP networks that make up the internet aren’t always optimized to deliver reliable, high-quality video around the world. With most IP-based live sports broadcasting services, congestion can cause long delays and even dropped connections.

Arc is a fully managed service built on LTN’s industry-leading proprietary network. At its core is an ultra-reliable, low-latency IP-based transport infrastructure. We offer live monitoring to route around congestion and guarantee your content will get to the customer in high quality. You get happy customers and the ability to maximize scale.

Challenge #4: Pressure to monetize content

Audiences are flocking to digital live sports. According to Nielsen, 32.3% of households watched the 2022 FIFA World Cup final online, and 80% of sports fans overall regularly or sometimes watch games on a streaming service. Revenue is following: In 2022, annual sports OTT subscription revenue in the US was $13.1 billion and could increase 73% by 2027. But broadcasters and rights holders will need to find new ways to monetize their content.

The opportunity: Find new efficiencies

In 2023 and beyond, turning live streams into greater revenue streams will be the name of the game. That means finding new ways to scale, grow your ROI, increase ad revenue, and reduce overhead. It means becoming more efficient, without compromising quality. And it will take a partner like LTN.

Arc enables greater monetization of your content in a variety of ways. Free up resources and find operational efficiencies by reducing your infrastructure. Scale and maximize your global ad revenue with state-of-the-art signaling and feed decoration. And do more with less — on our cutting-edge platform, a single operator could handle 4 or more games at once.

In live sports broadcasting, the competition isn’t just on the field. Leagues, teams, and rights holders can benefit from a fully managed, comprehensive digital versioning solution like LTN Arc. We’re not just a platform or a vendor. We’re an extension of your team, always ready to help. Reach out for a demo today and we’ll show you what we can do.