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The Future of Sports Streaming

“Do I stay up until midnight to see how they did and avoid all social media, or watch it live? The answer was to watch it live and celebrate with the rest of the country,” one Olympics watcher told the New York Times in an interview for the article 1.28 Billion Minutes Streamed (and NBC Is Still Counting).

Disney, Twitter, and NBC are among many companies heavily investing in sports streaming. Disney joins World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in investing in FloSports, a streaming platform for more niche sports such as track and field, wrestling, boxing, gymnastics, tennis, and volleyball.

sports management software
Much of NBC Sports’ live streaming is managed in Production Control Room 4 at network headquarters in Stamford, Conn. Credit George Etheredge/The New York Times

Twitter has recently announced partnerships with several major sports leagues, including the NBA and the NFL. The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a prepared statement, “We’re excited about bringing live content to Twitter, which has proven to be an ideal destination for real-time sports conversations. We’ve seen technology bring fans closer to our game, teams and players in ways we could have only imagined a decade ago.”

The NBA in particular has sought to expand its presence online, planning to double its digital content on Twitter, Vine, and Periscope. The content includes interviews, in-game highlights, and behind-the-scenes footage. Facebook hosted conversations for the NBA Finals that 43 million people participated in, resulting in 269 million posts, reactions, shares, and comments.

NBC has been criticized for its coverage of the 2016 Olympics in Rio both because it did not broadcast enough events live on television and because it required a cable subscription in order to view the olympics live stream online. The changing sports-broadcasting industry is quickly turning to online streaming in an age where immediacy and accessibility are more important than ever.