Category Archives: sports streaming

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The Relish Launches Video Broadcasting App to Empower Underrepresented Fans

The Relish, a sports media company founded and led by women and targeted at underrepresented fans, launched a new video-based app on Thursday that enables users to add color commentary on sports-related topics.
Since its founding less than two years ago, The Relish has served as a media company with a heavy focus on video that has produced content relevant to female fans. That content has mostly lived on third-party social media sites, notably Facebook, and in a semi-weekly newsletter emailed to users.
(Courtesy of The Relish)
The launch of this app (currently only available on iOS) represents the next stage of its strategy to build an ecosystem for underrepresented fans with its own products.
The hope is that this will help the company to wean itself off social media as a primary publishing platform, enabling it to more easily monetize its newsletter subscribers and the 35,000-plus people who currently follow its Facebook page.
“We no longer think of third party platforms as our primary product, we think of them as supplementary,” said The Relish co-founder and CEO Ashley Wellington-Fahey.
This is something that has always been a part of the plan, she said. The long-term goal is to create a comfortable space where underrepresented fans, those who might have felt their voices have been suppressed on more male-centric sports sites, can express themselves about the sports topics they love and find most interesting.
“Our goal here is to democratize and reimagine the sports broadcast landscape and in doing so prioritize women and the voices you don’t typically hear from in sports,” said Wellington-Fahey. “They’ve always been there, but they’ve oftentimes been overlooked and underrepresented.”

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The app is similar to Sportscastr and Twitch in that it attempts to level the broadcasting world for sports fans. But it differs in the sense that, as of now, Relish users don’t comment on live-streamed events as they do on those platforms.
While Sportscastr and Twitch allow fans to comment on a host of live events that are streamed through their services, spanning live NFL games to MMA matches on Sportscastr and esports to Thursday Night Football on Twitch, The Relish sets the sports topics relevant to its user base, then allows fans to chime in via video with their own opinions.
The Relish CEO Ashley Wellington-Fahey. (Courtesy of The Relish)
The Relish might one day set its sights on live-event commentary, but that’s not a priority right now. Wellington-Fahey said the company believes the kinds of topics its fans are interested in remain relevant beyond just the two-to-three hours of a game.
“We think live serves a purpose in sports but we don’t believe that today’s fans necessarily need the live commentary,” she said. “It has to be real-time enough that it feels pertinent to what’s going on right now.”
In the app, fans can create profiles and add video commentary to the topics that The Relish team opens up for discussion. Broadcasters can use the app to edit their videos with basic tools, and can acquire followers who might be interested in what they have to say. The whole experience looks like a mash-up between a sports site and Snapchat.
“We’re starting from a position of letting fans be seen and heard in an environment that’s much safer for these audiences, which are so often the victim of trolling and negative experiences in other sports media spaces,” said Wellington-Fahey. “Let’s empower that fan to be able to turn the camera on themselves and give their own take on what’s happening.”


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NFL Live Viewing Increasing Faster Than Global Trend

Live streaming for NFL content is growing faster than the global trend, which is also expanding at unprecedented rates, according to a new report released by intelligence company Conviva.
Streaming has ramped up over the past year as quality and access has improved. According to the report, which covers streaming data for the third quarter, total plays climbed 49 percent over the year-earlier period while viewing time was up 54 percent.
The NFL has benefitted from a faster adoption rate as the league has worked to increase access to its content across a range of streaming locations. So far this season, NFL live viewing is up 72 percent year-over-year in plays and 83 percent in viewing hours.
This confirms the NFL’s own bullish report released earlier this month on streaming. Through week four of the 2018 season, consumption of NFL games on digital was up 65 percent from 2017, with an average audience per minute of 326,000 viewers per game across all platforms, according to the league. Growth was being driven by mobile, notably via smartphones and connected TVs, where the average audience was up 147 percent and 54 percent, respectively, compared with 2017.

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The NFL has attributed much of its success to its focus on providing a high-quality streaming experience. NFL Media’s Culver City, Calif., headquarters is staffed with nearly 100 people on game days who make sure all of the digital streams are running smoothly.
The other success driver has just been an increase in access. Prior to this season, mobile access was limited via an exclusive contract to Verizon Wireless customers. Tablet access typically required a pay-TV subscription. Now, all primetime games and Sunday afternoon local games can be viewed on any mobile device via the NFL app or Verizon’s media properties without requiring a payment or login.
Interestingly, despite the focus on live streaming for major sporting events like the World Cup, which drove a 10 percent bump in traffic during the weeks the tournament was played in the third quarter, long-form video on demand content saw the biggest gains year-over-year, according to Conviva.
Long-form content saw 111 percent and 93 percent increase in plays and viewing hours, respectively, increasing share to more than half of all global viewing Conviva measured.


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