The fragmentation of sports media has made it increasingly difficult for fans to find and watch the “match”. SportsBubble, an Internet-based technology company, is trying to find and streamline content with the newly released WatchSports app, a universal guide to live sports and esport for the era of streaming.
“[The app is] a product that every sports fan needs, ”said Octagon, a global media rights advisor to Dan Cohen, who is also on the SportsBubble committee. “There’s never been a harder time getting to know live sports on screen, and WatchSports is the solution.”
Taken from JWS: Lydia Murphy-Stephans, founder of SportsBubble, former president of Pac-12 Networks, decided to tackle the difficulties associated with streaming sports after trying to tune in to a 2018 NBA Finals game. In the process of finding an app that was broadcasting the game (which was blacked out in the ABC app), it tried unsuccessfully to authenticate its cable subscription (Comcast Xfinity did not offer app authentication at the time) and then logged back into ESPN. , where he could finally see it, it took him eight minutes to get the real time.
“That was my epiphany moment,” he said. “I knew, a seasoned media director and sports fan, that if I had to hunt and peck at my iPad for eight minutes, it would be a missed opportunity for many fans. [have liked] to see, but they would not spend so much time [searching for the game]and for sports agents who own or license events. ”
Since 2018, only live sports content and media rights have been dispersed (see: MLB adds Amazon, Apple and Peacock to the mix). Technological improvements “have made it a little easier for fans to connect to the event if they know where they are and if they subscribe to this service,” Murphy-Stephans said. But when it comes to finding content, the problems have intensified.
The 2022 Beijing Olympics were a great example. Comcast NBCUniversal offered thousands of hours of live programming on all of its networks and platforms, and yet the Games were “the least watched” in the history of the network. “A big problem was that people were complaining that they couldn’t find or connect while the event was available,” Murphy-Stephans said. Hourly differences, ongoing human rights concerns and pandemics were also factors that affected the audience.
Murphy-Stephans said SportsBubble set out to create a global sports connection service to help find content and access issues that affect sports fans. The WatchSports application lists all the sporting and sporting events that take place at any given time, and the network or streaming services that make up the event. And if SportsBubble has a partnership with the rights owner, it gives the fan the ability to connect directly to the game. They are among the founding partners of DAZN, Pac-12 Conference and Networks, and NWSL.
The WatchSports app can be a useful tool for fans who want to know what events they want to see and where and how to access them quickly. In addition to listing all the events on the network and on the viewing platform, WatchSports can also be useful for those looking for something entertaining to watch. “[Users will] encounter events [they] I didn’t know they were available, and they are direct and available [three] clicks, ”Murphy-Stephans said.
Well, at least I didn’t go down without explaining myself first. If the event is broadcast over a wired network, the user will need to authenticate through their provider, although Murphy-Stephans says users will soon be able to authenticate and connect directly to the app. And if the fan does not subscribe to the service, the event will be presented at that time. “That’s part of our business model,” Murphy-Stephans said.
In addition to being a member of streaming and sports betting operators (the function of connecting to betting is in the plans), WatchSports will generate revenue as a listing service. “It costs money to list events and keep the event live 24/7. The app itself is a marketing tool for the league, event owners, TV networks and streaming services, ”Murphy-Stephans said.
The business roadmap will soon require the introduction of a premium service as well.
This wide-ranging discovery made possible by the WatchSports application should, in theory, benefit women’s sports. “Even now, women’s sports are developing and with the success of big athletes, less than 5% of online TV sports are dedicated to women’s sports,” said Murphy-Stephans, a former Olympic speed skater. Much of it remains on platforms like YouTube and Twitch and falls far short of the average fan awareness.
WatchSports believes it will help level the playing field. “We are able to show and list all the live sports events for women, and let fans know where they can watch these events and, in most cases, connect directly with them. [since they reside on free platforms]”Murphy-Stephans said.
Rights owners and networks would also benefit from the basic evolution of the WatchSports app at home, just like in the past. DAZN Group EVP Joe Markowski said in a press release: “This app will not only be a new way for fans to find and access live sports, DAZN will have another great partnership to continue to grow its subscriber base.”
Cohen acknowledged that WatchSports is capable of encouraging significant viewers and subscribers. But streaming companies will need to change the way they package and sell their rights to maximize their potential. “Mini subscriptions. Partial plans. Individual game plans. [WatchSports] it will be a catalyst for changing distributors [their offerings] to better reflect what the current consumer demands, that is, the choice. ”
SportsBubble isn’t the only company that wants to take on the challenge of finding content. Buzzer, a mobile app, is there to help fans experience “the best live moments in sports.” The startup raised $ 20 million in Series A last summer.
SportsBubble has not raised any money so far. Murphy-Stephans has self-funded R&D and early stages through its media company LMS Media Ventures. It is now launching a $ 5 million fundraiser that will be used to “build and grow” by hiring more team members, adding partners, and increasing the size of the user base.