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Innovation In Live Sports Streaming Is Increasing Competition

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By: Charlie Kraus, Senior Product Marketing Manager

April 8, 2021

Accelerating Innovation In Live Sports Streaming

Entering the 2021 Spring sports season there is more competition than ever for sport media rights, as OTT services and large social media companies compete for rights alongside the sports broadcasters.

This competition is driving up the cost of streaming rights into the billions of dollars, pounds or euros, and to go along with that - competition for viewers. This means every stream provider must provide the best possible quality video to their audience – AND differentiate their streaming services. New streaming technology allows providers to offer new streaming experiences and interactivity with viewers, such as sharing player stats appropriate for the realtime action on the field. 2021 is expected to be a year of accelerating innovation in live sports streaming.

As sports broadcasters and OTT platforms offer more streaming options, latency and live interaction remain clear challenges to the viewing format. In offering these new interactive experiences, deploying new streaming technology must scale to reach your audiences, while delivering the broadcast quality viewing experience expected by today’s sports fans on whatever viewing device they use. There have been advances in the two most standardized approaches to reducing latency: WebRTC and Low Latency HLS and DASH.

WebRTC technology can be used to deliver streams with less than a second of latency worldwide and is well suited to interactive applications. WebRTC-based solutions can deliver reliable, broadcast-quality, real time video streaming at scale, and most incorporate data sharing that can be used to create interactive services. WebRTC is emerging as the leading option for scaling the delivery of live streaming content that is incorporated into the social, audience experience.

DASH and HLS media formats deliver most live events today and are compatible with the majority of modern consumer devices between them. Both have options for low-latency delivery, LL-HLS and LL-DASH. While the final specifications for LL-HLS are still being confirmed, these formats promise to be able to deliver streams to supporting devices with latencies as low as 3 seconds, easily matching or bettering typical broadcast latencies of 5-8 seconds, making these formats ideal for streaming popular live sports and other major live events to large audiences.

With the technology in place to deliver live sports streaming in realtime, look for innovations in how online fans experience their favorite sports.