Has live sports made a touchdown on streaming TV?

By Senior Manager, Account Management, Sports, Amagi - October 21, 2022

Streaming TV has seen significant growth in recent years and continues to shine. In this blog post, Rekha Aramuthu Carriere, Senior Manager, Account Management, Sports at Amagi discusses a recent event that exemplifies how streaming TV is revolutionizing sports. She speaks in detail about the exclusive streaming deal between Amazon Prime Video and NFL’s Thursday Night Football. While this deal opens up more avenues for live sports streaming, it also means access to premium sports content for fans like Rekha. A total win-win!

(Most) Americans live and breathe football

For as long as I can recall, football has been one of the most popular sports in the US. Thanks to this, the National Football League (NFL) sees good yearly traction. The 2021 NFL Regular Season enjoyed an average of 17.1 million viewers. It also happened to be the highest recorded viewership since 2015. Additionally, over 99 million fans watched the 2022 Super Bowl (the annual championship game of the NFL) on TV. 

But the question here is will people continue to watch sports on traditional TV? Maybe not. Traditional TV viewership trends are slowly declining. Statista confirms that the percentage of US viewers watching traditional TV weekly has reduced from 83 percent in Q2 2017 to 61 percent in Q2 2021.  

On the other hand, live sports streaming is increasingly becoming the norm. About 57.5 million viewers in the US watched digital sports content at least once a month in 2021. By 2025, this number is likely to cross 90 million. I believe this change in consumer behavior provides a golden opportunity for streaming giants to jump in and take over. 

Prime members get access to exclusive Thursday Night Football NFL content

Amazon aced the game and signed an 11-year-long exclusive streaming contract with the NFL to encash this trend for Thursday Night Football. The value of this contract is pegged at around $1 billion per year. It also became the first streaming platform to run a season-long exclusive national broadcast package from the NFL. It’s a great time for all Prime subscribers in the US (including myself) as we can now access exclusive NFL content within a few clicks. Talk about taking the football viewing experience to the next level! 

A win-win debut for Prime Video

Airing its debut season of exclusive content rights with the NFL this September, Amazon Prime Video recorded 13 million viewers for its first TNF streaming. With a surge in new Prime subscribers that beats the total signups for Black Friday, Prime Day, and Cyber Monday combined, this streaming deal sure turned out to be a win-win for Amazon. 

A notable achievement here was that despite it being their first exclusive NFL streaming, Prime Video did not crash. Apart from minor buffering and resolution glitches, they delivered a spectacular viewing experience. 

Getting the ad game right 

Prime Video made a surprising move by having a rich ad load throughout the debut game. They focused on promoting their homegrown products and content. Some of these included Amazon Ring, Amazon AMP, Amazon Freevee, and Amazon Instacart. 

Another innovative move by Amazon was alternative broadcast streams that users could choose from such as X-Ray, Next Gen Stats, and The Dude Perfect. 

Based on the viewership stats, it is safe to say that Prime Video has done a remarkable job so far. 

Being at the center of exciting developments in the streaming world, we at Amagi are proud to have worked on something similar in the recent past. Let me take you through our journey while powering a critical event in the sporting world – Tokyo Olympics 2021.

Tokyo Olympics: A landmark event for the cloud, live sports & Amagi

Let’s go back a few years when the entire world was taken over by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Olympic games had to be rescheduled to July 23, 2021. It was a huge opportunity for us as NBC Olympics chose Amagi as their technology partner to power UHD playout with cloud automation for its production of the Olympic Games on its Olympics Channel.

Using two of our key cloud-based solutions – Amagi CLOUDPORT and Amagi LIVE, we were able to deliver UHD on the cloud without using a single piece of hardware. 

The latest version of Amagi LIVE, our UHD-ready, cloud-based, live orchestration platform allows single operators to manage multiple live events at scale remotely effortlessly. It is available along with our award-winning cloud playout solution, Amagi CLOUDPORT to help you manage a wide spectrum of live events for linear and VOD channels from any location. These solutions seamlessly integrated with NBCUniversal’s existing workflows, enabling us to power a glitch-free viewing experience.

Read more: 4K UHD: Going beyond the pixels

Up your game with a robust live sports orchestration tool

Live sports is slowly making its way into streaming TV. The credit for this smooth transition goes to the rise of state-of-the-art live orchestration solutions such as Amagi LIVE that offer unbeatable features such as:

Low latency: Fans must get to watch an event as soon as it happens. You need to be able to power up-to-the-minute live streaming to make it a rich viewing experience for the fans.

Streaming quality: Today you have access to tools that can dynamically adjust to the streaming requirements of different platforms. For instance, some platforms might be able to support just an SD stream, while others might need a 4K stream. 

Secondary graphics: Tickers, live scorecards, fan engagement updates, and even ads are the soul of your streaming. Industry-leading solutions like Amagi CLOUDPORT and Amagi LIVE offer powerful secondary graphics capabilities that elevate a live sporting event. 

Break management: You got to be able to mix and play live and recorded content while playing a live sporting event. Today’s robust solutions enable you to break in and out of channels as needed.  

Captioning & subtitles: Live sports streaming needs real-time captioning support and accessibility that allow people across the globe to enjoy your content. You can make this possible with the latest live orchestration solutions that can insert captions and subtitles into your live stream in multiple formats and languages as required. 

A hi-five to Amagi LIVE 
  • Higher revenue powered by simplified, cost-effective operations
  • Seamless live to recorded switching functionality
  • Single operator with multiple controls including breaks and secondary graphics
  • High resolution & low latency for a fantastic viewing experience
  • Dynamically spin-up broadcast & OTT channels

Ready to ace your live sports streaming game? We can help. 

Get in touch with us at cloudandme@amagi.com