March (Cloud Streaming) Madness

It's March Madness time again, and when we at Wowza aren't obsessing about how we're faring in our office pool (I need a win this year!), we're thinking about what a massive impact streaming has had on the way we enjoy our favorite sports.

Last year we posted about how the NCAA men's basketball championship shattered video-streaming records, and we thought we'd be able to say that again about the 2015 tournament. We were right! Streaming records were broken across the board, with hours of live video consumption coming in 19 percent over 2014's numbers.

Furthermore, there was a notable surge in viewership via TV Everywhere platforms (“double-digit year-over-year increases across Turner’s websites and apps throughout the entire tournament”)—a trend we're seeing in all realms of sports streaming, from amateur to semi-pro to pro.

As streaming in general, and sports streaming in particular, has moved into the mainstream, the cloud is playing a huge role. Its flexibility, nearly infinite scalability, and clear, cost-effective managed offerings make it the fix for the primary issues collegiate athletics departments have with streaming (see the graphic below). And yet, our 2015 college sports streaming survey indicated that only about 15% of schools are using the cloud for streaming. Here's what customers want, and why more schools should use the cloud to stream live sports:

Quality: Almost two-thirds of our survey respondents cited a desire for higher-quality streaming. Cloud streaming addresses that quality concern by easily scaling to any size audience, which correlates to reliable live video streams that can adjust in moments to handle viewership spikes and dips. Additionally, with Wowza Streaming Cloud, users can send a single live sports stream to the cloud service, which transcodes it to create multiple adaptive streams that play back smoothly to any device, including mobile phones and tablets.

Simplicity: Using the cloud to stream means avoiding the burden of maintaining streaming infrastructure and hardware. When using Wowza Streaming Cloud, you can simply point a live camera stream to the service, as the University of Oregon does for its tennis matches, and have it seamlessly processed and delivered to viewers.

Clear, cost-effective pricing: The simplicity we just talked about translates to cost savings, as well—no streaming experts or expensive equipment needed. But beyond that, a high-quality cloud service lets you spin up cloud streaming for a particular game or match, but not pay for ongoing services during the off-season.

If all this has you wondering how you can ride the wave of sports streaming, check out the resources below, contact one of our sports-streaming experts, and visit us at the SVG College Sports Summit in June.

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