Aug 3, 2022

Live IP video solutions driving increased fan engagement for English football

Football (soccer) teams enjoy a level of adulation and loyalty which is the envy of most consumer brands. However, the allegiance that was previously passed on from generation to generation is not as widespread as it once was. Competing forms of entertainment, most notably gaming, and a focus on the athlete rather than the team, is changing the relationship between teams and a new generation of fans. These shifting dynamics are driving clubs to seek new ways to engage their fans.

Football clubs have long recognised the benefits of having their own “club TV” platforms, affording them the flexibility to engage fans with exclusive live and on demand content 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

English Premier League club leveraging IP video solutions for fan engagement

English Premier League (EPL) football club Tottenham Hotspur is the latest club to launch their own global over-the-top (OTT) video platform. Speaking to SportsPro in July, Pierre-Olivier Bouche, Media, Programming and Operations Director at the club said, “The club has been determined to create a platform that brings all its fantastic video content together in one place for fans to access at their fingertips – whether that’s watching live match action they can’t find anywhere else, reliving some of their favorite moments from down the years or watching new longer formats that provide a unique insight into the club and its players.”

Creating quality behind-the-scenes content that drives engagement and revenue

Despite live match content being produced, sold and distributed centrally, EPL clubs sit on a plethora of exclusive live behind-the-scenes content opportunities including press conferences, locker room interviews, training sessions, pre- and post-event shows and special events. These create fan stickiness and relevance that is not available through other generic sports TV and online channels. However, not all stadiums or training grounds have the expensive fiber or satellite infrastructure that was once perceived as the only way to ensure the reliable transmission of live, high-quality content.

LiveU provides the portable field units and cloud-based IP distribution solutions that allow many of these clubs to overcome this challenge by removing the headache of finding reliable internet for every event and location. LiveU’s resilient bonding technology not only enables these clubs to keep fans constantly engaged on the clubs’ TV channels, but also opens up opportunities to push the content to social media and other third-party channels. This in turn opens up opportunities to generate incremental revenue from sponsorship and advertising, amongst other sources.

Clubs at all levels now able to produce high quality live match broadcasts

Clubs in the English Football League (that comprises the three leagues below the EPL) generally have more flexibility to take control of at least some elements of the production, sale and distribution of their Clubs in the English Football League (that comprises the three leagues below the EPL) generally have more flexibility to take control of at least some elements of the production, sale and distribution of their live match content (especially for international markets). Many of these clubs need to get live match feeds out reliably and in high quality to international fans via their own club TV channels.

LiveU's IP video solution in action

LiveU works with many clubs across the three levels of the English Football League to provide affordable live IP video solutions that enable them to capture and distribute live match content from men’s, women’s and youth teams, as well as interviews, training, match build-up and social outreach content.

Leveraging LiveU’s suite of solutions, events can be produced and shared to multiple destinations and stakeholders over the public internet, replacing costly leased lines, fiber networks or satellite uplinks.

A new era of sustainable live sports production in football

IP video transmission technology has enabled a new generation of broadcasters and production companies to switch to remote production workflows (also known as REMI) and in turn not only reduce costs, but also improve the welfare of production staff and reduce their impact on the environment. Remote production allows organisations to deploy fewer camera operators and production staff to matches, reducing travel and time away from home, and improving efficiency by keeping valuable technical and creative skills in the club’s media centres. Football clubs are increasingly recognizing the role they can play in terms of environmental sustainability. The adoption of LiveU’s IP video solutions can help to lower a club’s carbon footprint by reducing travel and power usage, while enabling them to produce high quality content in the cloud that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.

Live IP video solutions set to empower a new wave of sports broadcasting innovation

As football clubs in England and beyond become more adept at producing live content that fans love, new innovations in sports broadcasting continue to capture the imagination of fans. The pre-season friendly match between FC Koln v AC Milan, played in July 2022, was a case in point.

During the match, two FC Koln players wore a bodycam and microphone embedded within a lightweight vest which gave fans a unique “first person point of view” (FPV) on the action. Innovative use cases of this nature promise to bring fans even closer to the action in years to come. LiveU’s IP video solutions will ensure many more football clubs are able to embrace the future.