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A new sports era redefining fan engagement 

2020 was one of the most unpredictable years ever for live sports. Health and safety regulations amidst the pandemic gave way to sports broadcasters looking for creative ways to explore easier and cost-effective ways to go live. Because nothing beats the charm of live sports broadcasting – being instant, intimate, and interactive!

The essence of every sport is linked to its fans with fan engagement constantly evolving. Content-hungry fans want more and more immersive content to keep them connected to their favorite sport or teams – ensuring they do not miss a single moment of the action. But what is the best way to create engaging content while keeping everyone safe? After all, the costs associated with sports broadcasting on a large-scale involving media rights can be huge. Although feasible for sports operating at the top tier, grassroot level sports – Tier-II and Tier-III sports – cannot be overlooked.

Remote production, also known as REMI or at-home production, has become the sought-after solution. IP-based REMI enables sports broadcasters to reduce the size of their on-site crew and production costs tremendously. The bonding of multiple network connections (including cellular, WiFi, and satellite networks), creating the necessary bandwidth to distribute high quality wireless IP feeds, has empowered them to create, produce and deliver more content for significantly lower costs.

Viewership of games is also being expanded by promoting digital stadiums – via websites, apps, and social media. Television broadcasting is key, but there is so much more to cover getting up close and personal with the teams. Watching the pre-game press conferences, flash interviews, practice and warm-up sessions, and post-game locker room reactions are now key to the digital fan experience.

At the end of the day, no one wants to compromise with the video quality. Time and time again, it has been proven that viewers have an exceptionally low tolerance for poor quality streams. IP bonding technology, invented and pioneered by LiveU, offers sports broadcasters and producers a rock-solid foundation of connectivity upon which they can deliver high-quality live content in the most challenging of environments.

Last year, for the first time in the history, the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) took place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) instead of its home country India and without spectators. It posed a new set of unique fan engagement challenges, given that KKR has always been extremely creative and glamorous with content production – especially when it was about social media. That made them come up with new concepts such as Knight Live – live interviews with players, KKR Fan Cam – live streaming their practice sessions. They selected LiveU’s solutions and successfully managed to reach out to their millions of fans providing them with daily updates, match coverage and more.

India is a land of different kinds of sports – hockey, badminton, football, tennis, kushti – the list is endless. There are numerous clubs and associations set-up at a regional, state and country level. LiveU caters to everyone at every level with custom-made solutions designed for ease of production. With regular engaging live content streamed on the digital platforms, it not only increases the popularity of sports and the brands but also paves way for future monetization. As the viewership grows so does the chances of attracting sponsorships.  It also introduces the possibility of exploring new spheres such as talent scouting, remote refereeing, and even remote coaching.

As we have seen during the pandemic, IP-based remote production workflows and tools provide a new level of flexibility and mobility. As we try to predict the future of sports in our country, we believe that this is the way to go!

 

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