The conversation around live-streaming video still begins with sports, as it has for the last few years. Skinny bundles, niche over-the-top (OTT)
plays, and social networks are all rushing to satisfy a
demand for live sports video that’s available from any
device at any time.
As it builds up its video offerings, Facebook has bought
into sports, striking deals with Major League Baseball,
Major League Soccer, the Union of European Football
Associations, and the World Surf League. At the end of
2017, word came that the social network was planning on
spending billions more on sports. Amazon Prime served
up NFL Thursday Night Football games in 2017, and
Twitter focused on college sports and pregame shows.
While social channels grabbed headlines with high-
The State of
profile buys, skinny bundles also saw the importance
of sports: Hulu’s Live TV, Sling TV, and DIRECTV NOW
all feature live sports, often subject to blackouts.
fubo TV grew from a sports streaming service to be-
come a more fully rounded skinny bundle offering.
Fans are also subscribing to MLB.com, CBS All Ac-
cess, and a variety of other niche services to get their
games. How niche are these offerings? Casino lov-
ers saw the arrival of subscription service PokerGO
in 2017, and tennis fans saw the birth of WTATV.com
from the Women’s Tennis Association. The National
Lacrosse League livestreamed games on Twitter. Plen-
ty of events, such as the Spartan Race World Cham-
pionship and Showtime Sports’ Fight Night Live se-
ries, took advantage of the Facebook Live platform.
Even high school teams began experimenting with live
streaming in 2017.
Live Video 2018
By Troy Dreier