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PlayOn! Sports: Redefining the sports viewing environment

February 3, 2015 by Carlos Perez

At Wowza, we are passionate sports enthusiasts. Not only are we avid fans, but we also dig in deep with our many sports customers to create end-to-end solutions. We are always thirsty to solve new challenges and work to improve live and video on-demand (VOD) streaming for fans worldwide.

Did you know that participation and attendance in high school sports has been on the rise for the past 20 years? So much so, that Americans attend more than three times as many high school sporting events than college and pro combined. If you are a fan or relative of a high school athlete, you have noticed that their games and activities schedule can be demanding. Though being on the sideline is ideal, this isn’t always possible. An alternative that many viewers are turning to is live streaming.

NFHS-NetworkPlayOn! Sports (PlayOn) is meeting this need within the high school sports industry by producing over 5,000 live post-season sporting events on the NFHS Network Web site.  PlayOn! also provides the technology platform, training and support for schools to broadcast live video of their regular season games. The PlayOn! platform, powered by Wowza Streaming Engine, media server software, allows for high quality live streaming while controlling costs for each school or organization. The platform can take in streams from virtually any encoder to Wowza server software, and pushes it out through a content delivery network (CDN). This workflow allows for flexibility in viewership and also the ability to adjust quality in real time depending on a number of other unknown factors.

This platform also takes advantage of the server side record feature within Wowza Streaming Engine, and provides this content to fans following every game on http://www.NFHSnetwork.com.

“We have hundreds of live events happening at the same time. It’s a real challenge to maintain quality and reliability for all our visitors, who are watching on many different devices. The Wowza Streaming Engine lets us dependably deliver every stream and engage our audience.” said, Jay Sandhaus, Chief Technology Officer, PlayOn! Sports.

PlayOn! strives to create an experience for each viewer that is as close as possible to being in-person at the game. Each event is a priority for the viewers which, in turn, makes the quality and delivery that much more crucial.

A large hurdle that companies face when trying to make live streams available is the ability to reach mobile users. Device-agnostic Wowza software has allowed PlayOn! events to be viewed on virtually any device on the market. About half of the viewers watch events from their mobile device making this functionality imperative.

In 2015 the NFHS Network anticipates streaming over 50,000 events across the U.S.  Is your local high school streaming their sporting events? Do you live stream other sports on a regular basis? Tell us about your experience with live streaming games and watching sports in the comments below and don’t forget to join us for our Live Sports Streaming Webinar on February 5.

Got a comment? Drop us a line on Twitter @wowzamedia
Carlos Perez

Carlos Perez, Chief Revenue Officer at Wowza, has more than 20 years of experience in video and technology in business development, product management, and marketing roles. He earned his B.S. in Management from Boston College and an M.B.A from the Tuck School at Dartmouth.