Sports streaming goes mainstream

13 Oct Sports streaming goes mainstream

Steaming content has rapidly become one of the most preferred ways of consuming entertainment. Whether you’re streaming Game of Thrones or WWE Smackdown, there is no mistaking the need for industries to consider their online audiences.

The recent Tour de France and Wimbledon Championships, brought to us by SBS and Foxtel respectively, are but two of the growing number of high-profile sporting events being streamed live in conjunction with the regular broadcast.

This year has really seen sports streaming enter the mainstream, and there is now a heightened level of expectation amongst the viewing public that a live streaming option will be a component of the presentation of any major sporting event.

Hostworks has been heavily involved in facilitating the growth of sports live streaming in Australia. Supporting events such as the Tour Down Under, the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere, Hostworks is cooperating with many TV networks to deliver live sports streaming across the country, and indeed the world. Many of these networks have now realised the power of this approach for live sporting events, particularly with events that have to be streamed at different times of the day and where traditional broadcast is not convenient for the viewer.

Aside from supporting Australia’s biggest cycling event, Hostworks has also worked with SBS on both the Tour de France (TdF) and the previous two football World Cups. Hostworks first started working with SBS on the Tour de France back in 2011, managing the network’s dedicated TdF website – Cycling Central.

Last year, SBS introduced on-demand and live streaming of the Tour, again managed by Hostworks, which enabled cycling fans to follow the action on their tablet, mobile phone or PC.

As you could imagine, the volume of web traffic for an event of this nature is huge, which meant Hostworks had to closely monitor traffic levels to prevent capacity issues. The Digital Roadies were also on hand to identify viewing trends such as peak streaming periods, and could therefore prepare for them accordingly, thus ensuring the viewing experience is seamless and uninterrupted.

This was accomplished successfully last year, with 100 per cent uptime on the website and accompanying app throughout the course of the Tour. Statistics recorded showed 502,000 video views for the website, 223,000 video streams on tablet devices, 107,000 on IOS devices and 46,000 on Android devices.

Hostworks and SBS also added an extra dimension for mobile device viewers, with the options to see detailed maps of each stage, rider biographies, highlights, replays, and the chance to engage in online conversations with fellow race fans.

While the Digital Roadies were busy keeping the Tour de France wheels rolling, they had the additional challenge of managing SBS’ online World Cup coverage at the same time.

The 2014 World Cup held in Brazil overlapped with last year’s Tour de France by one week, so a great deal work was involved during that period, as well as in the planning stages leading up to both events, to ensure that Hostworks’ infrastructure was up to managing peak volumes from both events simultaneously, particularly as there was great interest in the World Cup locally, with the involvement once again of the Socceroos.

The fact that over 900,000 views to SBS’ The World Game World Cup microsite per day during Australia’s campaign were managed effectively and simultaneously with the traffic to the TdF coverage, demonstrated that live streaming technology has really come of age and is now an intrinsic part of sporting in Australia.

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