Advancements in technology have completely revolutionised football in the 21st century, particularly with regards to how fans consume media content.
That point is especially pertinent where live broadcasts are concerned, with people able to watch matches from across the world via a plethora of different platforms.
Streaming services now play an integral role in the way football is broadcast and the trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
We take a look at the latest state-of-play for online football streaming and suggest how the landscape may evolve moving forward.
Clubs Urged to Diversify
A new survey conducted by professional services firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) has urged sports organisations to diversify their media revenue streams.
The study showed that more than 86 percent of respondents said that social media platforms will experience the most growth where content consumption is concerned.
This was closely followed by aggregators such as Apple TV+, pure streaming and over-the-top (OTT) offerings, and rights holders’ direct-to-consumer (DTC) products.
The picture looks bleak for traditional media outlets, with less than a third of the people surveyed expecting consumption on pay-television platforms to grow.
BT Sport Continue to Experiment
BT Sport’s decision to provide free coverage of this season’s Champions League Final via YouTube showcased their continued commitment to experimentation.
It was the fifth consecutive season that the company had streamed Europe’s showpiece club fixture on the Google-owned platform.
BT Sport’s coverage of last year’s final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur attracted 4.8 million digital viewers, marking a 166 percent increase on the 2016 figure.
By using YouTube for its free broadcast of the final, BT Sport has been able to slash customer-acquisition costs and make significant savings on recruiting new subscribers.
Bundesliga Strengthens Streaming Link
The Bundesliga recently announced a new four-year broadcast deal that has strengthened its links with the online streaming sector.
The new agreement, which will start from the 2021/22 season, was worth slightly less than the record €4.6 billion earned under the current contract.
However, the pool of broadcasters has been cut to just Sky Sport Germany and streaming service DAZN, marking a shift in how live games will be screened.
DAZN will also be Germany’s main broadcaster for the Champions League as it seeks to cash in on its biggest financial market.
Premier League Exploring New Possibilities
While some leagues have had severe financial issues to contend with in recent times, the gravy train in the Premier League has shown no real signs of slowing down.
The league is already active in selling broadcast rights for the next cycle starting in 2022, with overseas deals expected to continue to significantly rise in value.
Chief Executive Richard Masters has already confirmed that some ‘direct to consumer’ deals are highly likely to happen in certain jurisdictions.
The league would also retain partnerships with established broadcasters in order to ensure that ‘secure funding’ remained an integral part of its model.
Streaming Firms Ready to Transform the Landscape
The likes of Sky Sports and BT Sports have enjoyed a monopoly in the United Kingdom in recent years, but that could soon be set to change.
Amazon’s acquisition of two rounds of Premier League matches has given fans the opportunity to watch live action via the Prime streaming service.
The firm has also produced documentaries featuring Manchester City, Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur, to demonstrate its growing commitment to English football.
With the likes of Netflix overtaking Sky in the number of UK subscribers, there is every possibility that online streaming could become the ‘go-to’ service for live football in the next few years.