When you take a look at the impact of live streaming over the last two decades, it has infiltrated almost all forms of entertainment. Those offering streaming services have given us all access to the likes of movies, TV shows and music concerts.
In terms of how we consume these forms of media, streaming is becoming more and more popular as people move away from traditional TV services.
Perhaps the last area to be affected by streaming was sports. Certainly, when it came to watching live sporting events, the competition between TV services to hold the rights to show was intense. In truth, the intensity of the competition still exists but now there is a new player on the scene.
Streaming services have found their place when it comes to sports and is posing a serious threat to the more traditional providers. What is it that has made sports streaming so successful and what impact has it had on the world of sports as a whole?
Opening up access
There was once a time when the sports that you could enjoy live were limited by the country that you resided in. Your location may mean that you’d miss out on top boxing matches, NFL finals or Rugby World Cups.
That’s because there was no deal with TV channels in certain countries and that meant that they didn’t have the rights to broadcast the action.
There were times when you might be lucky enough to find commentary on the radio but this never quite offered the same experience that watching could.
With streaming, you can access sports from around the world no matter where you are. This has opened up certain sports and tournaments to whole new audiences who had previously been excluded.
The likes of the English Premier League can now be watched worldwide, those in the UK are able to enjoy access to the entertainment provided by UFC and F1 fans can get in on the action now matter where a race is being held.
Domestic football to the World Cup stage
A recent study by one of the leading VPN providers looked at UK sport streaming trends and it’s clear to see just how popular football is. Indeed, this infographic from ExpressVPN shows that football’s popularity is reflected on a global basis.
If you tap into the information that Google has available you can see just how popular streaming is with fans of certain teams. The data shows that Liverpool fans are more likely to stream and this has been the case for the last five years.
Other clubs that have fans who are keen to stream include Man City, Chelsea and Spurs.
What else is shown by Google’s data is the fact that the number of searches surges depending on events that are taking place. The women’s Euros, and the England victory, led to more people searching about the team and the players.
With the 2022 World Cup just around the corner, there’s a good chance that we’re about to see yet another surge in searches relating to streaming and where the action can be watched.
It goes beyond football
Of course, football may be one of the most popular sports in the world but it isn’t the only one that has been impacted by the advent of live streaming. Google shows us that there is a huge interest in streaming other sports too. These include:
The UK also seems to have plenty of fans when it comes to UFC. Yes, this is a sport that appears to be relatively niche but streaming has allowed a new audience to take a look at what it has to offer. Fighters such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor seem to attract even more viewers and interest.
The impact of sports betting
There has long been an interest in gambling and sport. In fact, the number of people looking to wager on sports is on the rise and much of this is down to the fact that online sportsbooks are gaining traction. Alongside the usual online betting experience, gamblers have shown an appetite for live sports betting and it’s the technology behind streaming that allows for this.
Many online sportsbooks give customers free access to live streams. This allows them to bet based on what’s going on in front of them at the moment. This in-game betting brings a whole new dimension to what was already an enjoyable experience.
What will we see in the future?
Streaming live sports is something that is only just getting going. While it’s already extremely popular we are only at the start of tapping into the potential that this technology holds.
If you look back just a few years, there aren’t many sports fans who would have expected to watch their favourite teams from their desktop, laptop or mobile phone. However, with streaming, that’s exactly what they’re able to do.
Technology never stands still and there will be more developments in the future. We’re only just starting to exploit the full potential of virtual and augmented reality and this could take streaming to a whole new level. As the metaverse develops streaming could become a fully immersive experience.
One where you find yourself in the stadium and watching the action in a way that is completely life-like. Yes, we may still have some way to go before we get there but you can be sure that the day will come.