In today’s increasingly digital world, broadcasting sports online is becoming more popular than ever. Companies like DAZN, for example, have moved from filming in the stands to making billion-dollar deals with sports leagues.
More than 30% of fans now live stream sports to their phones or tablets, and that number is still rising rapidly. As this trend indicates, sports fans have always been at the cutting edge of technology.
It is relatively simple to get started with sports broadcasting, but there are some small stylistic elements that new broadcasters need to pay attention to if they want their broadcasts to look like the ones from the pros. One of these things is scoreboard overlays.
According to David Jurenka, the NFL’s senior vice president for digital media, “Fans aren’t differentiating between a TV, tablet or phone.” Instead, they’re using all internet-connected devices for online sports streaming.
This blog is geared for sports broadcasters who want to stream live video or broadcast recordings of their league or team. Specifically, we’ll review how to set up professional-grade scoreboards with the support of streaming solutions. That way, your live streaming video will look as professional as possible for your viewers.
With that focus in mind, let’s dive right into the world of streaming sports online!
Table of Contents
- The Growth of Online Sports Streaming
- What is a Scoreboard Overlay?
- How to Set Up Scoreboard Overlays with Wirecast
- How to Set Up Scoreboard Overlays with vMix
- Additional Tools for Online Sports Streaming
The Growth of Online Sports Streaming
Did you know that 80% of sports fans today use a “multi-screen” approach while watching sports? This allows viewers to look up stats or chat with friends while watching the game live.
Since this is so popular, offering online coverage of sports events makes good fiscal sense. In particular, one-time events like sports are perfect for pay-per-view monetization. In 2017, for example, 81% of sports fans subscribed to pay-TV services.
However, the vast majority reported that they’d cut the cord on cable if they could access their favorite games and events over the internet from an OTT streaming provider.
Are you ready to be a part of this cord-cutting, streaming video trend? If streaming sports online is your niche, you first need to learn how to stream sports effectively. In addition to those basics, you also need to learn how to do the little things right. This includes using the scoreboards feature, to name one salient example.
What is a Scoreboard Overlay?
A scoreboard overlay is a graphic that goes on top of your video content to provide the score and time for a game or match. Typically, a scoreboard overlay takes up just a small corner of the screen. Sometimes, this can be part of the ribbon at the bottom of the screen.
This is designed to keep fans at home up to date on the score since the camera will be focused on the athletes and not the physical scoreboard.
How to Set Up Scoreboard Overlays with Wirecast
Available for both Mac and Windows, Wirecast offers a broad range of features for streaming sports online, as well as other types of broadcasts.
Wirecast is an RTMP stream ingest software encoder that integrates directly with Dacast and other video hosting platforms. As a result, it is quite fast and easy to set up your live channel and start streaming over the Dacast OVP.
When streaming sports online, some of the applications of the Wirecast software include:
- Mix and switch between multiple different cameras and audio sources
- Encode video for live streaming
- Record video for local storage
- Stream to multiple destinations at once
- Instant replay
- Add custom graphics and titles
There are three main ways to add scoreboards to a stream with Wirecast. These include using lower thirds, the built-in live scoreboard title and the extension NewBlueFX Titler Live.
1. Lower Thirds
Wirecast makes it easy to add “lower thirds” to your live stream sports event. With a built-in clock tool and simple text manipulation, you can convey basic information like score, time remaining, timeouts, and so on.
If you’re willing to use an editor like Photoshop to create a scoreboard template, you can overlay this template with other add-ons. For example, you can float the actual score and time numbers on top.
This feature is super easy to customize and it has a very professional appearance. Unfortunately, it requires manual updating, which means the clock and score may not be 100% accurate, and since they don’t update instantly.
According to Telestream, “If you have a second Wirecast Pro system you can have a “scoreboard and graphics station. A second Wirecast user could more easily manage all the scores, text, and clocks and then output it to your main Wirecast system via NDI. Just make sure they overlay it on top of a green background so you can chroma-key out the background – Wirecast Pro does not yet support alpha channel output over NDI.”
2. Built-In Live Scoreboard Tool
The second Wirecast scoreboard overlay method uses the software’s built-in Live Scoreboard tool. This feature comes with the Pro version and is not available in Wirecast Studio.
Using this built-in Live Scoreboard tool makes it easier and faster to update the score. However, users still need to manually add a clock using Wirecast’s clock tool. This method also provides a professional appearance and it allows you to add a custom background image.
3. NewBlueFX Titler Live Sport
Last but not least, NewBlueFX Titler Live Sport is a professional-grade title tool that integrates with Wirecast and a variety of other broadcasting tools. In fact, it’s a true professional-grade solution that allows for automatic updating scores when streaming sports online.
Additionally, it plugs directly into in-stadium scoreboards for data syncing, which provides automatic updating. It provides a highly professional appearance and includes 3D animated graphics. NewBlueFX Titler Live Sport also supports NDI or SDI and custom colors.
This tool costs $449, which is absolutely worth it for sports broadcasters who want to use its advanced tools.
How to Set Up Scoreboard Overlays with vMix
Like Wirecast, vMix is a powerful live-streaming encoder, production switcher, and mixing tool. This software merges support for a huge range of audio and video sources. Plus, vMix will run on any Windows PC.
Like Wirecast, vMix is a video encoder that is natively compatible with Dacast. As a result, integrating vMix with your Dacast account requires just a few clicks and your account credentials. Since it supports graphics acceleration, a mid-level computer running vMix is more than capable of mixing multi-camera HD productions.
As with Wirecast, there are three main ways to use vMix for streaming sports online with live scoreboards.
1. Scoreboard Title Templates
The simplest way to set up scoreboards with vMix is via custom text. This approach is similar to that of Wirecast. Users create a custom template image created in Photoshop or another graphic design tool, and then manually update the scores and times as they change.
However, vMix makes this process a bit easier than Wirecast, by providing keyboard shortcuts that allow you to update the score instantly.
2. vMix Title Designer
The second scoreboard option with vMix is the Title Designer, which comes with the vMix software by default. Beyond basic image editing and manipulation in vMix, it supports custom dynamic text overlays that you can update as the score and timing changes.
3. NewBlueFX Titler Live Sport
vMix also supports the NewBlueFX Titler Live Sport tool that we discussed above. This option makes it easy to use professional-grade scoreboards on your vMix broadcasts. Automatic updating of the score, time, timeouts, fouls, and other metrics is also available via Daktronics or Scorebot.
Additional Tools for Online Sports Streaming
Of course, vMix and Wirecast aren’t the only live streaming encoding software and production mixers available. In fact, there is a range of software and hardware tools out there that can help you add scoreboard overlays.
Many of the methods we’ve described above apply to a variety of these systems as well. For example, broadcasters can create custom scoreboards with every major software encoder/production mixer on our radar. Of course, hardware encoders will require NDI-based methods, such as the NewBlueFX solution.
In addition to your encoding software, you’ll need a professional video hosting platform to host your sports broadcasts. Dacast is an excellent option because it is fully-loaded with the tools you need to broadcast sports like a pro at a super reasonable price point.
Also, Dacast is compatible with any RTMP encoder with channel authentication which means that you are free to use just about any encoding software that you’d like
Online sports broadcasting is booming, and succeeding in this growing industry requires attention to details and special effects like scoreboard overlays. We hope that this article has left you feeling equipped to try out one or more of the approaches reviewed here.
As we mentioned, another essential tool for streaming sports online is an online video platform. A professional OVP like Dacast offers both on-demand video hosting and live stream delivery.
Among other advantages, Dacast’s live streaming platform offers white-label streaming, low-latency HLS delivery, video monetization tools, and fast, global delivery via top-tier CDNs.
Want to try the platform for yourself? We offer a 30-day risk-free trial. All you have to do to get started is create a Dacast account today. No credit card necessary.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your live sports broadcasts!