Sports OTT: Ep.1 — Tough but potentially huge

Episode 1 of a Sports OTT series I intend to write in the coming weeks, possibly converging in a more ambitious Sports OTT Manifesto in time for Leaders, Sportel os SportsPro OTT Summit later this fall.

In this last year, not one month has passed without the broader media criticizing a Sports OTT platform with customers complaining for a variety of reasons.

The latest weeks have seen the Italian audience and media attacking DAZN the first matches of Serie A and Amazon Prime being heavily blamed for the US Open coverage.

Two different challenges there.
DAZN: go to Italy — the less tech-ready audience — and touch the most valuable sports asset for a vast population, Serie A. Do the math.
AMAZON: Try to stick sports in an eCommerce and entertainment discovery US model. One of my obsessions: Sports need their own product design. Do the math.

We all have our bruises.

There so many aspects of a Sports OTT solution that need all to work perfectly to deliver the final video experience to fans, compared to traditional broadcast, it’s still a developing area regarding technology and user adoption.

Regardless, I don’t see a way back. The industry will solve the still open issues move forward and progress as the opportunities are huge.
What is the alternative? TV-Anywhere? Linear-TV on digital with no sports discovery experience and no beyond-TV digital exploitation? Not really.

A lot of players on the media and sports side are now engaged in this space; more will come. 
From a B2B provider point of view, it’s important to analyze who they are, organize them into segments, understand which model they operate with to assess what their different needs are.

The threats are more coming from the alternatives. 
What can users do instead of watching sports? Today, a lot.
What are the alternative voices that users will love more than the official ones? Many, and getting better and better, see Copa90 and Players’ Tribune.

Amidst all these challenges, there is a silver lining. Sports OTT finally matters it’s going to the masses.
Which means, this is getting attention from a wider audience and the general media. 
We are a niche getting into so many households. 
But we need to understand masses better.
It’s not anymore for tech-savvy avid fans who would do everything that is required to watch and know how to do it.