Will Live Streaming Revolutionise the Fan Experience?

By on December 5, 2019

This week, football in the UK has entered a whole new era with the Amazon Prime live streaming of Premier League matches. For some fans it feels like a great opportunity to have access to more games. Others worry that  screening so many games could have a negative impact on football overall.

It’s early days for mass live streaming of football in the UK. It will be a while before the impact can be accurately assessed. However, we can start by looking at live streaming itself and what the Amazon Prime experience has shown us this far.

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The background of live streaming

Live streaming is not a new concept. It’s been around for more than 20 years. However, it’s popularity has really started to increase over the last few of those years.

Today, gamers live stream their play using platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming. Online casino operators like NetEnt have also embraced live streaming with their NetEnt Live offering. In the US, live streaming of sport is common place. This has not been the case in the UK this far, but the situation has now changed.

Live streaming of the Premier League

It’s too early to say whether live streaming will revolutionise the experience for football fans in the UK. People are still getting used to seeing Amazon Prime listed as a screening provider in the list of fixtures.

However, going by the early live streaming offerings from Amazon Prime, there were some obvious issues.  There was a certain amount of buffering to contend with. There was also a transmission delay. This meant that anyone who had live scores delivered to their phone knew what to expect before it happened on the live stream.

Of course, there is also the fact that although Amazon promoted the games as “free to view” they were all streamed on Amazon Prime. Subscriptions to Prime cost £7.99 a month, or £79 for the entire year.

The future of live streaming football

Now that live streaming has arrived in football in the UK, it’s likely to become a more common feature. The boxing day games will be screened on Prime and BT are live streaming games on 1st and 2nd of January.

Maybe, the Premier League will take a look at what the NFL has done with its Game Pass and provide a subscription service itself.  If this does happen, it’s likely to be a long way off.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen how live streaming will affect the experience of fans. It’s certainly a way of getting access to more games. On the other hand, is the viewing experience of a high enough quality? Also, is there really anything quite like attending a match in person, or even watching the match in the pub with other fans. Will live streaming completely change the way people watch football in the UK, or will fans still catch their team live if they can and watch highlights on Match of the Day. Only time will tell.

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