Since its inception, Connected TV (CTV) has transformed the way we experience entertainment, and sports are no exception.
In this article, we will explore how CTV is shaping the future of how we enjoy and consume sports events.
The Impact of CTV on Sports Consumption
CTV offers a more immersive and personalized experience for sports fans. The ability to stream events in real-time, access instant replays, and enjoy additional content enhances the viewer experience.
Additionally, targeted advertising allows advertisers to reach specific audiences, creating innovative opportunities for sponsorships and monetization.
Sports content generates the largest audience and the deepest levels of engagement across all platforms. Recent data from Nielsen shows that sports broadcasting increased by 360% in September 2023 alone, indicating that sports channels gained viewership for the second consecutive month in the United States.
The audience behavior in September in the United States was notably unique due to changes in its composition:
- The number of viewers aged 18 to 49 increased by 35%.
- The number of viewers aged 25 to 54 increased by almost 33%.
- The number of viewers aged 12 to 17 increased by 26%.
The shift toward sports consumption through CTV has been significant in terms of audience engagement and satisfaction.
For example, ESPN reports annual revenues of $10.3 billion, the highest figure among all sports platforms.
Platforms Adapting to Televised Sports Streaming
The rise of Connected TV (CTV) has democratized and leveled the playing field for brands seeking to connect with the highly desired audience of sports fans.
In the last two years, industry leaders in technology have made significant strides in acquiring sports rights, strengthening their video and streaming platforms.
In 2021, Amazon acquired the rights to Thursday Night Football, marking the 2022 NFL season as the first to be live-streamed on Prime Video. AppleTV+, on the other hand, began streaming Friday night baseball games last year.
This year, with the Women's World Cup, FIFA+ became a global hub for football, aligning with the increasing viewership of women's sports. As of June 2023, FIFA reached a broadcasting agreement with the top five European networks, ensuring that matches would be available on free-to-air channels.
This strategic shift highlights the growing importance of tech giants in the sports scene and their influence on the evolution of online sports entertainment.
As connectivity and accessibility continue to improve, the full adoption of CTV in sports is expected to increase in the coming years. It is estimated that by 2025, more than 80% of sports consumers will choose CTV over conventional broadcasting methods.
The Added Value of CTV in the Sports Experience
The adoption of CTV has not only changed how we consume sports but has also significantly enhanced the overall experience. Users can:
- Personalize their streams.
- Access exclusive behind-the-scenes content.
- Participate in interactive polls during events.
An interesting case was the 2023 Women's World Cup, which provided valuable insights: fans, especially younger ones, want to follow women's sports but need more information about players, leagues, and seasons. Easier access to live broadcasts, especially replays, is required.
How CTV Became the Next Frontier for Live Sports Advertising?
The experience of streaming sports events has evolved from a multiscreen activity to a decade focused on live premium sports broadcasting directly to the living room TV. This has become possible thanks to significant rights agreements obtained by digital media companies.
Advertising on CTV allows advertisers to reach specific audiences, eliminating the waste of impressions and maximizing campaign effectiveness.
- 87% of marketers claim that CTV offers a better return on investment (ROI) compared to traditional methods.
Already in June, Apple and MLS signed a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal to stream all league games, the US Open Cup, and the Leagues Cup. A risky move that they could sustain with Messi's arrival, achieving a very profitable business for the Apple company.
Relevant Trends in Televised Sports - CTV
With an estimated growth in CTV adoption and the revolution in advertising, we are entering a new era in how we enjoy and participate in sports events.
In the face of a lack of new scripted productions in the short term, sports will maintain their position as a fundamental choice for viewers, especially with the start of the new NHL and NBA seasons in October. Unlike the NFL, NHL and NBA matches are broadcast on both broadcast and cable channels, which will possibly impact audience behavior next month.
As we move into the future, innovations in televised sports through CTV will continue to surprise us. From the integration of virtual reality to 3D streaming experiences, the horizon of televised sports is full of exciting possibilities.
On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence is already being used to create simulations and predictive models that anticipate scenarios and improve strategic planning, as indicated by the "OBS Report: Sport-Tech, a look at the impact of the industry."
Connected TV has an opportunity to add value by connecting brands and the audience, which seems willing to reward.