Creating a winning sports video strategy

Albert Lai, Brightcove

Albert Lai, Brightcove

Sports – perhaps more than any other type of content – grows and thrives on emotion, writes Albert Lai, CTO, Media & Broadcast Solutions at Brightcove. It goes far beyond a team or player, and while its successes can be recorded in points, wins and promotions, sport defines itself by the emotions it can create – often in mere seconds – and by the moments and occasions of which it’s composed. Those who watched Usain Bolt achieve a golden double at London 2012, for example, don’t just remember that moment; they remember where they were and whom they were with.

But success with sports video is far from automatic. When publishers think about sports in the context of video, they need to realise the opportunities to engage viewers and create an experience that melds the spontaneity of news, the dramatic arc of narrative film and fodder for fans that revel in past glories.

Statistics & Scores: Video can provide context for any type of real-time statistics. During a sports event, while it’s common to showcase the ‘big’ plays, non-scoring moments are just as effective for understanding the ebb and flow of a game, team or player.

Even more compelling than synchronising video with real-time data is the potential for using video to create additional context by enabling consumers to not just view statistics, but to research via video.

What’s more, sport is a pathway to other interactive experiences. Fantasy sports engage millions of participants and video can play a vital role in augmenting that experience, extending a data-driven experience into a leanback video experience.

Social & Sharing: Sport is a social activity for participation, attendance and viewing. Video can play an important role beyond watching the game itself; whether delivered via a personal network (email or text) or via a social network (Facebook or Twitter), sports lives beyond the moment, enhancing its replay value.

For sports clubs and leagues, video can be a powerful form of engagement with fans; for example, it can serve as a medium for announcing deals and upsells to entice attendees, or a means for generating the power of user-generated content to strengthen the fan base.

Spontaneity: Publishers need to ensure all video experiences – from desktop to mobile to Connected TVs – adapt to the viewer’s desire to discover content. Sports content has the unique characteristics of being consumed live, time-shifted and pre-recorded. It can also be viewed from the perspective of leagues, teams, players and fans and is inextricably linked to data. Publishers therefore have the opportunity to optimise discovery and promotion to increase engagement and monetisation.

Stories: Sport thrives on emotion, and that’s why video – as a unique medium for storytelling and emotional engagement – provides a key role in heightening the experience of every win, lose or draw. News content can be transient, deriving its value from both its immediacy, and as a historical archive. But the value of sports content is that a sporting moment can be watched again and again, and can continue to trigger the same level of drama with each view.

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