Streaming of sports events is big. But it’s getting further attention, if that’s possible, due to the approaching kickoff of the NFL season and the league’s deal with Twitter. Twitter will stream Thursday night games produced by CBS and NBC.
While Amazon is reportedly considering bidding for sporting events, what’s going on with the local teams? Essentially the Seahawks, and Mariners and Sounders to an extent, are locked into national media deals that already cover streaming. ROOT Sports Northwest, Mariner owned and part of AT&T, does not yet permit streaming of M’s games with cable/satellite authentication. AT&T and its RSNs are among the few that haven’t reached a deal yet with MLB.
The Reign and Sounders 2 are two teams whose games are streamed and available without a pay TV subscription. This is valuable to sports fans and probably leaves most fans wanting more from their other teams. But it’s slow going with many rights holders involved and a lot of money at stake.
A sort of middle ground might find teams that already televise via an RSN, such as the M’s, offering an alternative broadcast online via subscription that complements the television broadcast. The webcast could be stats heavy, or offer different camera angles or some other differentiation from the televised product. It’d be a way for a team to try to reach fans that don’t subscribe to TV, but might be willing to pay for a quality online experience. In time, those fans might transition to TV or to a new subscription streaming package of the actual games as seen on TV.
The possibilities are great. None of this is new. Hopefully teams in this region will take advantage of the tech expertise available locally in software, mobile and cloud to offer futuristic products in sports viewing that reflect the home audience.