Live Stream College Sports with Wowza Streaming CloudMarch 18, 2015
Cloud Streaming and College Athletics: The Perfect Match for Live Sports
Amen—it’s March! In my view this is by far the most exciting month for college-sports fans. I know some of you may be longing for spring (or if you live in Colorado, longing for more snow), but I am fired up for conference and national tournaments in basketball and hockey. The NCAA® men's basketball tournament was a trailblazer: one of the first big-name sports events to be streamed live back in 2003. Of course, thanks to new technology and the ubiquity of smartphones and other devices, streaming live events has come a long way and is now seeing explosive growth across all sports.
In the United States alone, 5.3 million unique viewers streamed the 2014 FIFA World Cup® round-of-16 match between Belgium and the United States on ESPN® and Univision® platforms, representing unprecedented traffic for both broadcasters. The 2014 NCAA men's basketball championship broke video streaming records, exceeding the previous year’s numbers by 42 percent—and it’s likely to break new ground this year. Not surprisingly, massive deals have been struck to stream top college sports such as basketball and football, and that’s just the beginning. For example, the Pac-12 Conference's media-rights fees from ESPN and Fox® cost $185 million in 2013 and will be worth $2.7 billion over the 12-year life of the TV deal with ESPN/FOX.
Wowza Media Systems and Ring Digital recently conducted a survey of 103 NCAA colleges (representing a wide cross-section of Division I, II, and III schools) to understand video-streaming buying decisions in college sports. We found that although technology has grown substantially in the past three years, many schools have not reassessed their streaming technology to ensure that they’re taking advantage of the latest developments.
If you’ve ever been involved with streaming or broadcasting sports, you know that live events are tricky—poor-quality or frozen video will kill a viewer’s interest in mere moments. But content owners and potential streamers don’t realize that their current pain points and desires—overwhelmingly identified as higher-quality streaming, greater ease of use, and lower/more transparent pricing—are easily addressed with today’s video-streaming technology, especially cloud streaming.
High-quality Streaming Video
Delivering high-quality live streaming video to a wide range of viewers with different devices and network connections is a complex process that is simplified by streaming from the cloud. Cloud streaming allows for scaling to any size audience, which translates to reliable live video streams that can adjust dynamically to handle unpredictable viewership.
And when using Wowza Streaming Cloud, content owners or anyone looking to stream their sporting event can send a single live stream to the cloud, where it is transcoded to create multiple adaptive streams that play back smoothly to any device, anywhere. This is vital as people around the world play more and more online video on mobile phones and tablets.
Ease of Use
Streaming live sports events via the cloud does not require an expensive, difficult-to-maintain infrastructure or costly hardware. Our survey showed that 44 percent of schools record video with a single camera and want an easy way to stream that input. This is straightforward when using a cloud-based sports-streaming solution: with Wowza Streaming Cloud, the live camera stream can simply be pointed to the service, and it’s seamlessly processed and delivered to viewers.
Not needing to manage an infrastructure or hire streaming experts saves money, of course. But the cloud’s financial advantages go well beyond that. By choosing the right cloud video-streaming service, colleges can avoid signing long-term contracts. This makes the cloud ideal for sports—schools can spin up the cloud capability whenever they need it and not pay for ongoing services during the off-season.
It’s time for colleges to discover what they’re missing: 85 percent of those in our survey have not yet taken advantage of cloud solutions for live streaming. Using the cloud to stream live sports is the easiest solution to the issues colleges have with their current streaming approach.
Are you attending the College Sports Summit May 27–29 in Atlanta? If so, please stop by our table to chat with a Wowza expert.
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