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The Power of Pre-Season: How Football Clubs Can Leverage OTT Streaming for Revenue and Global Fan Growth

By Published On: July 13, 2023 - Categories: Blog Industry Insights Live Streaming Sports

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The world of football is ever evolving, with clubs continuously seeking innovative ways to drive revenue and expand their international fanbases. Broadcasting pre-season fixtures is nothing new, but has taken on increasing importance in recent years, particularly since OTT’s rise to prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this blog post, we will explore how football clubs approach pre-season, harnessing the power of OTT platforms to generate revenue, connect with fans worldwide, and foster long-term growth.

The Rise of OTT Streaming

OTT streaming services have witnessed a meteoric rise in recent years, revolutionising the entertainment industry. The allure of personalised content, convenience, and on-demand accessibility has attracted millions of viewers globally. Football clubs are now recognising the advantages of harnessing this technology to reach fans directly, eliminating middlemen and expanding their revenue streams.

The proliferation of OTT services has also created the expectation among fans that pre-season games will be live-streamed to a high standard, regardless of the time. This can pose challenges for clubs whose media and content teams have not grown in proportion to the demand. Consequently, many clubs engage external broadcast companies to handle the production aspects both domestically and internationally.

Direct Revenue Generation

By launching their own OTT channels, football clubs gain full control over the distribution and monetisation of pre-season friendlies and tournaments. Through subscription models, pay-per-view options, or sponsorship collaborations, clubs can unlock significant revenue potential. Fans, hungry for exclusive access to their favourite teams, are willing to pay for high-quality streaming experiences.

Meeting the evolving expectations of fans is crucial, as they no longer accept a basic level of production. Features like commentary, graphics, and replays (when possible) are considered a minimum requirement, especially if content is being charged for.

Pre-season presents an opportunity to generate substantial revenue through one-off match passes or bundling them into monthly passes for wider club OTT services. This often leads to a surge in subscriptions during pre-season, which then continues throughout the season.

Furthermore, there is a growing demand for exclusive access to pre-season streams among different tiers of club membership. For example, "Gold" members may receive free access, while other membership categories require payment. Such memberships often include additional benefits such as retail discounts or priority access to stadium tickets. However, providing access to streams also offers an opportunity for upselling memberships and providing existing members with another reason to retain their memberships. As a result, the practice of making pre-season games available for free or registration only has diminished.

Global Fanbase Expansion

Pre-season friendlies and tournaments provide football clubs with a unique opportunity to showcase their talent, brand, and playing style to a global audience. OTT streaming enables clubs to transcend geographical barriers, captivating fans in markets where traditional broadcasting may be limited. This expansion of reach facilitates the growth of international fanbases, fostering stronger connections and potential commercial opportunities in untapped regions.

An emerging trend in this area is content localisation, particularly through the application of live stream commentary in different languages. For instance, a club with a significant number of Spanish players or prominent staff may provide the option of Spanish commentary for consumers within the media player.

Branding and Sponsorship Opportunities

Streaming pre-season friendlies and tournaments through club-owned OTT channels creates an ideal space for branding and sponsorship collaborations. Brands can leverage the extensive viewership and target specific demographics to maximise their exposure and connect directly with football enthusiasts. This presents a valuable revenue stream for clubs, while sponsors gain an exclusive platform to showcase their products or services to a passionate and engaged fanbase.

These approaches have evolved beyond traditional pre-roll ads and static inventory, embracing Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) techniques where advertisements can be automatically inserted into the content based on ad markers within the streams themselves.

Data-driven Insights and Personalisation

OTT platforms provide football clubs with valuable data insights on viewer preferences, engagement patterns, and geographical distribution. This wealth of information enables clubs to personalise content, promotions, and offerings based on fan interests and demands. By tailoring their offerings to meet the specific needs of different segments, clubs can strengthen fan relationships, optimise revenue generation, and continually refine their streaming strategies.

Clubs are now leveraging analytics to generate over 150 data points per play, going beyond traditional user location and device data. Meanwhile, transactional data from OTT purchases is integrated into CRM systems to create a comprehensive 360-degree view of fans, allowing clubs to combine OTT purchase histories with other information held across ticketing and retail platforms.

In Summary...

The digital age has unlocked unprecedented opportunities for football clubs to leverage OTT streaming and transform pre-season friendlies and tournaments into revenue-generating and fanbase-expanding events. Embracing this technology allows clubs to take full control of their content, engage fans worldwide, and forge lasting connections. By capitalising on the power of OTT channels, football clubs can secure a prominent position in the global sports industry, benefiting both their financial prospects and their passionate supporters.

StreamAMG can assist football clubs and other sports rights-holders in maximising the potential of OTT and streaming. Get in touch to arrange a conversation to discuss how our range of specialist products and in-house expertise can help you navigate this exciting challenge.

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