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Volume 27 No. 5
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Sports Properties Getting Creative In Attempts To Reach Next Gen Fans

Brenner (l) said the NBA is emphasizing optionality and choices when trying to reach younger fans
Photo: TONY FLOREZ
Brenner (l) said the NBA is emphasizing optionality and choices when trying to reach younger fans
Photo: TONY FLOREZ
Brenner (l) said the NBA is emphasizing optionality and choices when trying to reach younger fans
Photo: TONY FLOREZ

Execs from the NBA, DAZN and Endeavor Streaming discussed different ways their outfits are attempting to reach the next generation of fans during a panel discussion on Day 1 of the Endeavor Streaming Sports Media & Technology conference. NBA Exec VP/Digital Media Melissa Brenner said the league is emphasizing optionality and choices, highlighting several examples, including feeds from NextVR and Second Spectrum. Brenner emphasized that testing these new methods has required patience. "Initially when we launched, 10% of our users were using mobile view, even though I thought it was a pretty good experience and they explained the value proposition," Brenner said. "We gave it time, and two years later, we’re up to 50%. So we’re seeing the benefit, but this is hard work." Other examples of the NBA’s willingness to experiment are alternative features being deployed in G League coverage on Twitch, including social media influencers providing play by play. Brenner said that the NBA also views social media as a "laboratory" for content experimentation.

WHAT'S MY AGE AGAIN? As for the state of OTT in the U.S., DAZN Exec VP/North America Joe Markowski said the technology is at an "adolescent" level, while Endeavor Streaming President of Business Operations Will Staeger believes U.S. leagues are in their 20s or 30s. Markowski: "We’re in the adolescent phase, but not the sort of awkward, scrappy, gangly teenager. I think the best metric for that will be proven during the next round of major domestic rights deals in this market." DAZN’s most recent streaming success was Saturday night’s boxing match between YouTube personalities Logan Paul and KSI. "It generated significant buzz for us, crucially, in a demographic of fans who aren’t necessarily sports fans, they’re not necessarily boxing fans," Markowski said. "It was a fantastic success, with viewership of 25 million on the countdown show."

PIRACY AN ISSUE: One concern each panelist voiced regarding the future of OTT platforms is the threat of illegal streams, which Markowski said is not "being talked about enough." Staeger added that Endeavor increases its anti-piracy efforts on the nights of major events it is producing.