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There are few things more exhilarating than watching your favorite sports team win a game with a last second shot or goal. We have favorite players, and a loss can be devastating, but a win can lift your spirits like few other things. But, major sports are only getting bigger while the lesser known leagues are continuing to struggle in the fight for screen time and eyes. YouTube, Facebook and other content hubs have dramatically changed the way we consume content.

Popular sports leagues like the World Surf LeagueWTA, and MLS have garnered increased attention through live streams, and larger leagues are following suit. The biggest of America’s leagues is the NFL, but even they aren’t impervious to the struggles brought on by live streaming and cordcutters. Compared with the first 6 weeks of the 2016 season, NFL viewership in 2017 is down 7.5%. In 2016, an average of 16.2 million people watched games through the first 6 weeks of the season. In 2017, that number dropped to 15 million.

 

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It’s only natural for the NFL to have seen such a drop in today’s ever-shifting landscape, but it’s clear they’re taking steps to fight back. In 2016, the NFL streamed games on Twitter free of charge. Then, it was announced in April 2017 that Amazon was awarded the streaming rights to 10 of the Thursday Night Football games. In the fight for attention, the NFL has made streaming it’s most important weapon. If America’s biggest league is finding streaming to be a viable solution to the new forms of content consumption, shouldn’t you start thinking about it?

Here’s a hint: You should.

Need proof? Below is a list of sports with less developed traditional audiences that decided to stream with great success. While most of these examples show a heavy YouTube presence, the most important factor in your success level comes down to distribution strategy. Know your customer, know who you’re targeting. Getting your content in front of the right eyeballs where they’re already spending time is the key to driving ROI with streams.  

1. Women’s Flat Track Derby Association

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is the international governing body for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby and a membership organization for leagues to collaborate and network. Their engaging live content has garnered the league so much attention that they were able to sign a broadcast agreement with ESPN.

2. Formula E

Formula E, officially the FIA Formula E Championship, is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. Picture this as the uber-popular Formula One racing series, but with electric cars. As an upstart they do a great job of incorporating fan engagement into the actual sport, and live streaming/social media is a big part of that.

3. National Basketball League

The National Basketball League is Australia’s major basketball association. They live stream through their own website, nbl.tv, and saw major growth in crowd sizes over the past year. Recently, the NBL leveraged increased awareness to land some pre-season games with NBA teams, which should help grow their audience nationally and globally.

 

And the list goes on…

In short, sports leagues can all benefit from sharing the excitement of live sports across the global market through live streaming. For smaller leagues on the rise, getting videos out in front of audiences can increase awareness and get them the attention they deserve.

 

Interested in learning more about marketing with live stream? Click here.