How to retain OTT subs when your sports content is seasonal

Dimitar Serafimov| Wed Mar 13 2019 CET| Live pay-per-view

Live sports moves to streaming

Of all OTT verticals, sports content is one of the most popular. But, despite droves of dedicated sports fans willing to tune in online to watch their favorite teams and events, the seasonal nature of such spectacles does present challenges for service providers.

Going beyond prime-time content

To meet the needs of today’s digital sports consumers, pure-play sports OTT brands like FloSport and DAZN are moving into claim niche sporting rights to go beyond ‘prime time’ sports programming and drive fan engagement throughout the year.

Another innovative seasonal engagement structure comes from the NBA. Offering a quarterly payment structure – or microservice – fans will now have more freedom, flexibility, and autonomy over the content they commit to – this, in turn, will drive engagement and increase subscriber loyalty while keeping firm control over revenues.

More ways to solve the seasonal sports content conundrum

With seasonality, it’s possible to tempt fresh subscribers to stay with a service through discounted sports passes offered halfway through a season. Other avenues of engagement include cross-sell quizzes, fantasy sports leagues, merchandising or exclusive bonus content. 

Simply put, offering your seasonal subscribers an additional layer or two of value could encourage loyalty.

One prime example of this comes from FloSports. The growing sporting content provider offers a library of over 10,000 pieces of content. By repurposing its best sporting content post-broadcast and giving its subscribers access to a wealth of exciting spectacles. 

Here lies one important point is that sports OTT broadcasters should focus on a one-on-one approach that goes beyond streaming events.

“You can’t just stream. OTT is not taking a linear feed that used to be on TV and putting it online. You have to produce it totally different. You have to tell the story totally different. It is hard to get people to pull out their credit card or to watch your channel. We feel like the new players are making some of the same mistakes that we did back in the day.” – says Mark Floreani, founder of FloSport for SportsPro.

The potential of social media and content repurposing

It’s clear that there’s a hunger for online-based sporting content as more fans migrate from traditional TV offerings in favor of more dynamic programming through mediums such as social media.

Speaking about football, a study from Media Chain shows how strongly the fans in football’s birthplace are tied to digital services. Out of 1.600 fans that have been surveyed, 52 percent said sports news on social media is more engaging than traditional TV. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) do prefer Social Media sports coverage over any traditional channel – like TV or newspapers.

How to adapt to the omnichannel viewing trend

A wealth of sports fans are now using YouTube to consume sports news and content with droves of fans using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to follow their favorite teams or events. And, this broader, more omnichannel viewing experience means that traditional sports broadcasting as we know it could be in decline.

Looking at the report, we see that pure-play and individual club, sports organisation or federation OTT services have plenty to learn from dedicated fan channels. The illustration below shows the Facebook status, but all the other social networks show similar patterns in the numbers.

It’s interesting to see what else excites sports fans and where their interest goes beyond sports viewing. This above-mentioned report shows that fans spend their time on Youtube to watch more sports, and then enjoy entertainment, gaming, and music.

Source: Media Chain

This can give strong signals to OTT providers on what type of retention content can be created to keep subscribers on board, engaged and satisfied.


It’s clear that the online demand for sports content is growing and although keeping fans engaged out of season may present a challenge, it’s clear from these examples alone that will a dynamic multi-layered, multi-channel approach you will enjoy a steady revenue stream all year around.


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