Innovation is FloSports’ answer to the loss of live sports
FloSports has built its business around streaming 200,000 live competitions per year. Last week, it didn’t stream any. None are expected for the foreseeable future. Despite the lack of sports, FloSports said it still was signing new subscribers last week and logged an 11% uptick in minutes watched compared to the previous week. Amy Loesch, FloSports senior vice president of marketing, spoke with John Ourand last week about how FloSports plans to move forward with no live sports. What follows is an edited transcript.
How did you react when the NBA suspended its season March 11?
Loesch: Because we have both international and national events, we had seen a few events get canceled earlier in the week, including a couple bike races in Italy. We have hundreds of events across 25 different sports, but that Thursday they started to get canceled and postponed. We saw the reality of that situation where we were going to immediately pivot. It’s a challenging and difficult time. But it also represents an opportunity to see what we can do without live sports.
Describe the meetings you had on March 12 and 13.
Loesch: Every day is different. I felt that March 12 was one of the weirdest days of my life. Now, I feel like every day has compounded that. Our marketing and content teams got together on the 12th to start putting together an immediate plan. The next day, we started formulating plans around each of our verticals.
Give some examples.
Loesch: We’re trying to find different ways to engage our subscribers. We have a wrestling podcast that was three days a week; now it’s five. We’ve started to Skype athletes. We’re starting to rebroadcast old races, and competitions across different sports, kind of recreating the live experience, but with old events. There are some things that we’ve already produced. We have three films that we’re going to release over the next month or so. One of them is called “Bad Cut,” about the dangers of extreme weight cutting and how it related to wrestling and grappling. We don’t want it to get lost in all the coronavirus coverage, so we’re waiting on a launch date for that.
Let’s spin this forward. What’s coming up?
Loesch: That was our immediate pivot. Now we’re going to think more long term about virtual competitions. We’re trying to create live experiences that are remote for our subscribers. We want different groups to submit their own competitions, and we can try to figure out how to stream that live.
Everything is changing so fast. What has changed for you in the past week?
Loesch: We’re trying everything. I don’t think we know what’s going to work yet. We’re now looking at metrics and starting to get a handle on what’s driving engagement and what’s helping minimize subscriber churn. We just don’t know at this point. We’re getting more innovative about new ideas.
How are you getting innovative?
Loesch: This Saturday was the Milan-San Remo race, a big cycling race that kicks off the season. That’s obviously been canceled. Our team will rebroadcast the 2019 race. We partnered with Zwift, a technology company that allows you to have virtual bike rides or races at home, to do a virtual ride watch party. People will be on their bikes at home on a virtual ride, communicating with each other and watching the race. It’s a different way to bring the community together.