Fall sports swing into action on .tv

Pat Kane | Oct 25, 2012
Fall is an exciting season for sports fans both in the U.S. and abroad: Major League Baseball has begun its World Series, the NBA kicked off and the NFL is in swing; the English Premier League is full steam ahead and this year the World Cup Qualifiers are keeping fans on the edge of their seats scrambling through TV guides to see what airs when.  Hopefully soon the Washington Capitals will begin their season as well.

Sports franchises and leagues are embracing the concept of streaming live games and matches over the Internet via channels such as MLB.tv, PostSeason.tv and GolTV.tv.  These online channels are generating tons of traffic by enabling fans within and out of market to cheer for their favorite teams, featuring alternate camera feeds, and providing many other ways for fans to interact with players and other fans. The role online channels have played in driving eyeballs and engagement has skyrocketed over the past several years as the capabilities and mobility of devices has increased. While second screen platforms have offered broadcasters new channels for their content, the appeal and accessibility of live TV anywhere for fans out of market and lacking access to regional sports networks has become a growth factor for online video. 

Instead of simply broadcasting the content online, sports channels are able to engage audiences on a variety of levels. For example, at CES this year Yahoo! demonstrated an enhanced sports content TV app that used Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) to deliver supplemental materials related to the broadcast such as news, scores, schedules, videos and photos. This potential to offer more through live streaming game content has caught on and leagues like the NBA can now offer “league passes” that allow consumers to watch every game on schedule that day without needing to convince their cable company to carry that content.

This year we saw MLB.tv celebrate its 10th year and we’re proud to say that other .tv-branded sports domains are following suit to deliver fans immediate access to the high-quality content they crave. Athletes, college conferences and cable sports networks like SantonioHolmes.tv, BroadwayJoe.tv, and SNY.tv  are also joining the movement to get their brands on .tv. Whether it’s to provide highlight reels, on-demand content from special moments in team history, or replays from action earlier in the day, the immediacy of video on the Web satisfies fan appetites no matter how they are watching.

Red Bull is also a prime example of a brand using online video to connect with avid extreme sports fans around the world. Recently, more than 8 million viewers from around the world tuned in to witness Felix Baumgautner break the sound barrier after reaching speeds in excess of 800 miles per hour from a skydive of 128,000 feet. While on his way up, Felix broadcasted live audio updates to ground control, tweeted about what it was like to be in the stratosphere and contributed to a live blog chronicling his every move. Live.RedBull.tv features a live program schedule of extreme sports broadcasted from around the world like cold-water surfing, ice cross downhill, mountain bike slopestyle and motocross freestyle and offers a free app for Android and iOS  

No matter the activity, .tv has helped pave the way for fans to access the teams they love when and where they want. The convergence of television and Internet has opened up the world of sports to millions around the world and with the growth of content consumption on mobile devices, we can expect the trend to grow.

What are some interesting applications of sports .tv channels you have seen? What other great competitive activities would make great .tv? Sound off below with your comments.

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