Hey Sports Tech Fans,
With the NFL season now over, the XFL season now takes over.
I tuned in over the weekend as BT sports in the UK and Ireland have acquired the rights. There are some interesting changes to the game in order to make it quicker and more engaging.
Shortening the play clock, really speeds up the game and by allowing for play calls to be broadcast after they have been completed it brings the fans closer to the action.
It remains to be seen if the league will manage to keep up its positive ratings so far. The AAF had a similar number of viewers but the league folded half way through the season.
With the WWE facing such hardship on the stock exchange the XFL launch might be its saving grace or be a distraction that takes it down further.
One thing I would like to see is more done on the content side to allow fans some insights into the players, teams and coaches involved as with a new team and league it can be hard to build an emotional connection.
I am a Vikings fan for some peculiar reason as an Irish man but who should I support in the XFL? I might wait to see how the season progresses before choosing a team.
In the OTT world, speculation has turned to confirmation as the Premier League seem willing and able to look at the prospect of launching their own OTT platform.
I have mused multiple times on here as to how leagues, teams and federations should look to adopt the model to get closer to the fan, instead of selling their best assets for others to make money off of, to collect fan data that they don’t get to own and to increase revenues.
With the shorter rights deal, the Premier League can be a lot more flexible than a lot of other leagues like the NFL or NBA who go for longer TV deals.
People refer to it as a “Netflix” for the Premier League but live sports is a very different beast.
The Premier League could, right now develop its own Netflix platform and add all its old games, highlights, compilations, interviews and magazine style shows.
I think this would be a fantastic way to launch a service now to start developing a user base.
The product could be free and ad supported or for a nominal fee in order to test the concepts and to hone its skills in delivering such a product because delivering such a product isn’t easy, especially when its on a global level.
Adding in live content adds a whole other layer of complexity that has embarrassed a lot of people in the past.
It is the future and I would expect Sky to look for non-exclusive deals for some of their offerings which would allow them to maintain a steady flow of rights money, while allowing them to offer their own product with live games.
It is a fascinating space and I will be coming back to this again and again as it has the potential to be massive! With 200 million fans of the league around the world, people have speculated that it could be worth up to $24 billion a year if they managed to convert all of those to paying subscribers!
Obviously it is unrealistic to expect 100% especially overnight but launching a video on demand service with their back catalog of games would be a great way of starting to convert unknown fans around the world and into registered users on a Premier League platform.
Some great pieces in the best of the rest section below on the value of on NBA teams and the evolution of shot taking the league over the last 20 years!
Have a great sporting week!