Sports Goes over the Top: Technologies, Platforms & Leagues Converge to Make Streaming Sports a Reality

Rider Research’s latest report, Sports Goes over the Top: Technologies, Platforms & Leagues Converge to Make Streaming Sports a Reality, is now available for purchase.


The media industry is changing – and faster than anyone expected. The same is true for sports. 2016 has seen the sports industry rocketing towards Internet TV. The NFL made history last fall when it broadcast, for the first time, an entire American football match over the Internet to a global audience. That game, which reached 15 million viewers and generated over 33 million views online around the world, effectively broke the dam on live streaming sports.

Now, the genie is out of the bottle, and billions of dollars are at stake.

There’s a growing appetite among viewers for sports content off the TV set, and particularly on mobile devices. A third of sports fans now want access to sports programming on their smartphones and tablets, according to a report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA, formerly CEA) released earlier this year.

Broadcast networks, pay TV networks and pay TV providers pay billions of dollars each year for sports programming rights to broadcast on traditional TV. But the OTT competitors – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and others – are now paying up, too, as viewers look for more convenient ways to catch a game. And with the first year of ratings dips in what’s been traditionally must-see programming, it’s clear the last marble column of the traditional linear TV business is beginning to crumble.

Sports Goes over the Top: Technologies, Platforms & Leagues Converge to Make Streaming Sports a Reality, the latest executive briefing report published by Rider Research, explores how sports leagues and sports networks are managing the transition to Internet-delivered live sports, and analyzes strategies for expanding existing audiences, generating new revenue streams and building global demand for content through Internet distribution.

The social video platforms are playing a role in the transition to Internet TV too, and especially for sports leagues. Social video platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook are new frontiers for sports leagues to reach viewers. These rising off-TV sports brands only point to the potential of online video platforms for attracting TV-sized audiences, and in the case of Yahoo’s NFL game, global audiences that TV can’t offer.

The transition will require sports leagues and TV networks to rethink how they deliver matches to viewers and fans. Ratings for sports matches across leagues and TV networks in the US have historically been strong, and big tentpole games such as the Super Bowl have consistently attracted huge audiences on linear TV. But in 2016, ratings for all linear TV programs – including high profile sports events such as the NFL regular season games, and even the 2016 Rio Olympics – slipped across networks. For many broadcasters and sports leagues, the ratings dips have served as sobering reminders that live TV is changing in big ways.

In this new era of video distribution, expansion online doesn’t come at the cost of jeopardizing the linear TV business. Instead, survival will require it.

Purchase our 50-page report, Sports Goes over the Top: Technologies, Platforms & Leagues Converge to Make Streaming Sports a Reality, to explore how OTT distribution will enable sports leagues to meaningfully improve their reach, not just to larger audiences in the US, but to global audiences as well, and to learn more about the platforms, technologies and market drivers that are responsible for the dramatic rise of live streaming sports.

This report is essential research and analysis for networks, leagues and rights holders in the sports space who are looking for ways to leverage the Internet video technologies and platforms as the media landscape completes its transition to Internet TV.

This report explores:

  • The advantages and obstacles to delivering live online video to viewers across devices and platforms
  • The important role of social video networks for aggregating and engaging audiences and increasingly for delivering sports programming directly to those audiences on their smartphones, tablets and Internet-connected TV sets
  • The growing cadre of sports leagues that have gone direct-to-consumer in their OTT video offerings, and who are now incorporating live video into these offerings
  • The next generation of video technologies, including UHD, HDR and virtual reality (VR) applications, that’ll help bring more immersive, engaging and visually jaw-dropping viewing experiences to sports fans wherever they are in the world

An extract of the report is available and can be received by emailing

The table of contents of the report is available beneath the purchase section.

To Purchase

Pricing for Sports Goes over the Top: Technologies, Platforms & Leagues Converge to Make Streaming Sports a Reality:

Number of readers          

Single reader license                                        $995

License for 2-5 readers                                    $1,495

License for 6-10 readers                                  $1,995

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Table of Contents

Introduction: 2016 Is the Year Live Sports Went Over the Top

Premium Sports Now Available Off the TV Set

Live Streaming Video Is Now a Reality

Advantages and Obstacles to Live Online Video

  • Advantages to Going over the Top with Live Sports
  • Monetization and RoI
  • Obstacles in Live Streaming Sports
  • Content Owners & Rights Holders Invest in Streaming Tech

Social Video Networks: Where Viewers Come to Stream

Sports Leagues Reach Fans with ‘Social TV’

  • Twitter, the New Digital Sports Network
  • Facebook Chases Sports Publishing Dreams with Dollar Signs
  • YouTube, the Sleeping Giant of Live Streaming
  • The Internet TV Players Are Already Streaming Sports Directly to Devices

Case Studies in Live Online Sports

Sports Leagues Look to Internet Distribution to Reach Those Post-TV Eyeballs

  • Pay TV’s Crown Jewels Move Online
  • Disney Will Take Its Premium Sports Net ESPN Online & a La Carte
  • Niche Sports Find Niche Audiences Online

4K and VR: Technologies ahead for Live Streaming Sports

  • UHD Live Streaming Is a Reality Today
  • HDR for Sports
  • Virtual Reality and 360-Degree Video Experiences

Conclusion: Streaming Sports Will Propel Internet TV into the Mainstream