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Football streaming versus the national second division – where to next?

Online streaming continues to be a popular choice for football fans around the country, but have we been better off since these services have changed the landscape?

The EPL is exclusively on Optus Sport to stream for $15 a month whilst other Major European leagues, as well as the A-League, W-League and FFA Cup, is on Kayo Sports for $25 a month.

Telstra also offers a service for streaming Socceroos and Matildas games on the My Football Live App, as well as giving fans of the A-League, W-League and FFA Cup another alternative streaming option.

At a local NPL level, significant progress has also been made in this area.

A recent initiative was introduced this past season by NPL Victoria and other NPL associations around the country, with all senior NPL games live streamed on Facebook and YouTube. This in turn has increased the visibility of the local game and given fans the chance to stream games on familiar online platforms.

Football Victoria recently posted record audience numbers on their YouTube and Facebook streams for their Grand Final Triple Header broadcast on September 15. Some of these figures were up 32% on last year’s spectacle, highlighting the appetite for the local streaming coverage.

While the implementation has been successful, there are infinite possibilities for growth through these digital platforms.

I’m sure those who are in charge of the creation of the proposed national second division will be looking at various options to find viable streaming options which will grow the game.

Could that body invest heavily in producing a streaming service that will charge a subscription fee to fans?

Or is it more suitable to keep costs lower, give out the service for free and expand digital advertising across the board, with the associated revenue making it a viable solution?

It certainly is an interesting debate, without knowing the finer details.

Maybe NPL clubs such as South Melbourne or Heidelberg United can put the onus on themselves to find a partner to stream their games (or do it themselves), when the second division is up and running.

They may try to strike a deal similar to that of Los Angeles Football Club in the MLS. LAFC secured an agreement with YouTube TV in 2018, as not only a sponsor of the team but a streaming partner. 30 of LAFC’s 34 games are streamed on the paid subscription service in 2019, available to those in the Los Angeles area. Pre-existing media deals that have been secured by the MLS are not affected by LAFC’s deal with YouTube TV. The streaming partner does not produce the coverage of the game by itself, instead partnering with the MLS and LAFC. Content produced for the service includes pre and post-game shows and other LAFC related content.

Traditional NPL clubs could package archival footage in a similar type of setup, giving fans of the team more value for their dollar. Advertising revenue could then be generated for themselves or split with the streaming partner.

These are all possible alternatives, as it becomes increasingly hard for traditional media companies (such as FOX Sports) to shell out money for sports broadcasting rights.

If FOX Sports’ current attitude towards the A-League is any indicator, the chances of them investing in a national second division are not very high.

Sports such as Basketball have taken the hint and are seeking out other viable options.

Last week the NBL announced they are in a partnership with Facebook to live stream 52 NBL games into America. This was a significant announcement for the NBL as Facebook will pay a fee to stream the games, something that they have struggled to garner domestically from traditional media outlets.

The NBL will broadcast a number of games on ESPN and SBS VICELAND this season in Australia, sharing the advertising revenue with both of these partners.

Games will also be available to stream on SBS ON DEMAND, as well as the NBL TV streaming service which is a model the national second division will be considering.

The NBL TV model gives fans access to all games live streamed for $5 a month, with full game replays and NBL Classics on demand.

It’s time for those in charge of the national second division to find the right balance for football. The streaming waters have been tested this season with NPL associations around Australia, but the decision makers will have to do their due diligence and find the right model for the future of the game.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Football NSW grants webinar to aid clubs and associations

FNSW

Football NSW in conjunction with ‘The Grants Guy’ are set to premiere a free Grants Zoom online webinar next Wednesday (September 22) at 6:30pm – 7:30pm.

FNSW clubs and associations will be provided with valuable information through the grants webinar, especially for applying for funding which have assisted many teams in the past in their pursuit of seeking facility upgrades amongst various other beneficial elements.

The webinar will provide a practical guide to grant writing for any football club seeking to attain funding by applying for the Greater Cities Sport Facility Fund and the Regional Sport Facility Fund in particular.

Both grants will be explained through the practical step by step webinar, and guidance will be provided as to how to apply for the Grants.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • How to apply for the grant – the do’s and don’ts
  • Eligibility & Answering the Question
  • Project Assessment, Evaluation, Rationale, Methodology
  • Budget & Acquittal
  • Getting Grant Ready and Planning your Club’s Application

For the Greater Cities and Regional Sport Facility Fund, the second and final round of the $100 million grant is available, with grants of up to $1 million offered to sport and recreation organisations and councils.

In Round 2, up to $46 million is available for projects that improve sports facilities and recreational spaces and enable more people to participate in sport and active recreation.

Grants from $100,000 up to $1 million are available for a range of projects including lighting, amenity buildings, clubrooms, change rooms and grandstands.

Round 1 resulted in $54 million awarded for 91 projects, with over $10 million awarded to football projects.

Round 2 is the final round of the program with applications closing at 12pm, on October 8, 2021.

Register for the webinar today by clicking here.

For any further questions please contact Football NSW’s Government Relation, Infrastructure and Funding Manager Daniel Ristic via email on danielr@footballfacilities.com.au.

Vizrt: Graphic specialists for sports broadcast 

Vizrt are reliable providers of graphics and sports analysis technology, perfect for the media industry during their broadcast. 

Vizrt – short for Visualisation in Real-Time – are a Norwegian company who have created resources to enhance the delivery of sport production. They are a worldwide market leader across the areas of real-time 3D graphics, sports analysis and asset management tools to cater for sports media among others. 

Their specialty involves creating visuals to improve the overall feel of broadcast, including interactive & virtual solutions, animations, maps, weather, story and video editing, as well as compositing, multiplatform Video on Demand (VOD) and live playout tools. 

Vizrt’s philosophy is based on creating a new vision for content creation, management and delivery with an end-to-end solution from conception to multi-format distribution. The software and services designed by Vizet, coupled with ongoing innovation, aims to push the boundaries for what is possible and opens up new opportunities to tell stories. 

If we think about how that could be of use in a sporting context, Vizet have already proven themselves as partners for sports broadcasters and clubs, who can give better insights about what happens in a match or what it means, as well as previews and reviews. 

They have all the tools in sports graphics and analysis to provide greater excitement to the coverage of any sport. Audiences are treated to data-driven augmented reality graphics, advanced analysis, automation tools and quick editing of highlights to get them to fans first. 

As part of Vizrt’s sport production, they bring all the features required to get the very best out of the experience, whether that be at home, in the stands or in the locker room.

One of Vizrt’s Extended Reality solutions is XR – regarded as the world’s most powerful 3D sports analysis tool. In collaboration with Eleven Portugal, Vizrt linked up to deliver a new fan experience to Portuguese audiences. 

Eleven Portugal is the Lisbon-based part of multinational group Eleven Sports, who have sports television channels for sporting events. 

In Portugal, Eleven Sports own the rights to UEFA Champions League, La Liga Santander, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 Uber Eats, Jupiler Pro League, English Football League Championship, Scottish Premiership, Formula 1, F2, F3, Formula E, NASCAR, Porsche Super Cup, NFL, WTA 1000, ATP 250, Liga Endesa and more. The channel slogan is ‘By the Fans. For the Fans.’ 

Eleven Sports wanted to find ways of improving their sports coverage, with Vizrt chosen to lead the way with advanced graphics and new innovations. 

Vizrt’s XR Playbook brought a very powerful 3D analysis to TV programs – presenters were able to explain complex play by play match tactics in a clear and audience-friendly way. This adds more drama and suspense in shows and helps get the most from all sports by engaging the audience with unique insights and knowledge of strategy. 

As part of the collaboration, Vizrt committed towards offering training and guidance via their training and services teams. Deployed in Lisbon, they could educate Eleven Portugal’s editorial and production teams about how to get the most out of Vizrt’s software. 

Fans became immersed with tools for tracking player speed and movement, while the broadcaster makes great use of Virtual Stadium  an augmented reality set that gives a bird’s eye view of the venue. 

It’s this use of Vizrt’s multifaceted technology that can bring heightened significance to any sporting event. 

Vizrt has even helped out Esports broadcasters with their own productions, bringing the same high-quality graphics solutions for match previews and team presentations in particular. The rise and popularity of Esports has seen Vizrt transition their expertise to these events. 

Vizrt’s impressive portfolio of clients and partners include the world’s leading broadcasters, featuring CNN, CBS, Fox, BBC, Sky, ITN, ZDF, Star TV, Network 18, TV Today, CCTV, and NHK. Vizrt’s power of work extends further to many world-class production houses and corporate institutions – such as the New York and London Stock Exchanges – who go to Vizrt’s technology. 

Adaptable to any organisation and industry, Vizrt is able to deliver a whole range of benefits. To find out more on other features, you can view them here. 

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