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How to Live Stream Sports: Making Your Virtual Sporting Event a Success
Live sports streaming is currently one of the most popular uses for live video broadcasting. After all, what’s the point of watching the big game if you aren’t watching it live?
Given the increased accessibility of broadband Internet and mobile technologies, it’s easier than ever to stream live video to viewers around the world.
Live sports broadcasts over television and radio have long been standard practice. Streaming via the internet, however, is still a relatively new form of broadcast. Within the past decade, many sporting associations, organizations, and leagues have started to do live sports streaming online.
Today, live stream sports events are on the rise, and it’s a great time to get in on the action. There are plenty of streaming solutions available to fit the needs and budget of all kinds of broadcasters, including the Dacast streaming platform.
This article breaks down how to live stream sporting events in six steps. In addition to reviewing the process of broadcasting your sporting event, we’ll cover some tips and considerations that are especially relevant to live sports streaming.
Before we dive in, let’s talk about why it makes sense to live stream sports.
Table of Contents
- Why Live Stream Your Sports Event
- How to Live Stream Sporting Events: The Basics
- 6 Steps to Live Stream Your Sports Events
- Plan and Prepare
- Get Your Equipment
- Choose a Video Hosting Platform
- Promote and Monetize Your Live Sports Broadcast
- Conduct Multiple Test Runs
- Stream Your Event
- Video Techniques for Live Streaming Sports
Why Live Stream Your Sports Event
Over the last two decades, there’s been a major shift in the way people consume media. Dramatic declines in traditional television viewership and newspaper audiences have turned the internet into the primary media platform today.
Entertainment and news are both accessed more via the web and on mobile devices than through print media or television. The average person today spends more than double the average time online than they did just five years ago, and those numbers are still on the rise.
Even in less developed nations, mobile networks are leapfrogging ahead of more infrastructure-dependent and expensive technologies like TV.
Internet video is especially powerful. It’s a fast, effective means of communication that engages viewers. Compared to text, people are much more likely to watch videos online.
When it comes to sporting events specifically, live streaming online presents a number of advantages, including global reach, new revenue opportunities, and choice for consumers.
The greatest benefit of live streaming is the ability to reach anyone in the world who has a sufficiently fast Internet connection. Live streaming technology can dramatically extend the reach of sporting events.
Additionally, live sports streaming can help attract new partners, participants, and sponsors.
Revenue and Paywall Opportunities
There are two popular video monetization methods to earn revenue from your live streams that are quite lucrative: a pay-per-view model and a subscription-based model.
These monetization models are especially well suited for live sports streaming where you can utilize an integrated paywall to monetize your sports broadcasts, making them a great fit when you’re seeking a financially effective approach.
Here at Dacast, we have a lot of experience with live streaming revenue generation. You can test our monetization tools and other powerful live streaming features risk-free for 14 days if you sign up today.
Streaming media is all about consumer choice and broadcaster flexibility. Viewers can tune in at any time, to any channel of their choice, without having to limit themselves to the channels that come with a cable or satellite subscription.
For broadcasters, the appeal goes even further. Live events, including live sports broadcasts, can be free or have a viewer paywall. Geographic restrictions allow you to limit access to your streaming content in certain areas based on IP addresses. That way, you can comply with contract rules and licensing agreements.
If you’d like to create a more customized experience, you can even package your live streams within an app. The NHL and MLB have both done so, for example, by building apps for their streams. These apps allow viewers to access multiple camera angles at once, view lives scores of other games streaming that are happening at the same time, and even watch two games at once.
The flexibility for consumers and broadcasters alike makes the approach much more attractive.
How to Live Stream Sporting Events: The Basics
The process of streaming sporting and live events is relatively simple, even for those new to the game.
First, you will need to plan and prepare for your stream. Then, you’ll need to decide which equipment, encoder, and live streaming host you’ll use. From there, you must promote your stream and conduct several runs. Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’re ready to start your stream.
Now that you understand why you should live stream sports events and how that will look, let’s dive further into the six steps you must follow to get your first sports stream up and running.
1. Plan and Prepare
Planning and preparation are absolutely key when setting up your first live stream. This is mainly because each broadcaster’s situation is very unique and a decent part of the streaming process depends on individual goals.
As you plan and prepare, you’re going to want to identify your goals. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Who do I want to reach with my sports broadcasts?
- Do I want to monetize my broadcasts? How much is my target audience willing to pay?
- How often will I be broadcasting?
- How can I reach my audience?
- Where will my audience be watching this stream (cell phone, laptop, smart TV, etc.)?
- What is my budget?
- What tools do I need to achieve my goals?
At this stage, you should really figure out what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. This will set the stage for the rest of the steps.
2. Get Your Equipment
As we briefly touched upon, you’ll need some different equipment for live streaming, including a camera, microphone, a computer, internet, and any supporting accessories, like a tripod.
The camera component is fairly self-explanatory, and you likely want more than a webcam if you’re doing live sports streaming. If your league has the budget, then you’ll want to consider multiple cameras that connect to a live switcher for a seamless, professional broadcast.
An encoder takes the video content that you record on the camera and converts it into a viewable format for your viewers on their devices. The encoding device can be relatively simple as well. You have the choice between encoding software, like the free, open-source OBS Studio, or encoding hardware, which is more complex and more expensive.
Since sports generally require a more professional approach and better-quality cameras with zoom lenses, you’ll likely choose an external encoder. Generally, this means using a dedicated hardware encoder (ideal for heavy-duty use).
In addition to the camera and encoder, you’ll need a solid internet connection. In general, we recommend a dedicated line with an upload speed of at least 2 to 5 Mbps for HD-quality video.
Sports broadcasts typically use 60 frames per second since there is a lot of motion in the picture which can use extra bandwidth. Therefore, 10 Mbps or higher is the best practice for live sports streaming whenever possible.
3. Choose a Video Hosting Platform
Sports broadcasting requires special video hosting tools that you may not find on every platform, so choosing the video hosting platform that meets all of your needs is a must.
Your chosen online video platform (OVP) invests your video as it comes in from the encoder and re-encodes it into a variety of different bitrates. That way, your content can reach viewers with different internet connection speeds.
Your video hosting platform distributes your content to a worldwide network of servers known as a CDN, or content delivery network, located near your viewers.
In short, a live video hosting service ensures that your content reaches viewers as quickly and successfully as possible.
Once you upload your video to your chosen host, there are a variety of ways to distribute it. The most common approach is to embed your live stream to your website.
Please note that your viewers will not access your stream directly through this host but rather on your website or app where you embed the video player from this platform.
Another method for distributing your live stream is via Roku, a popular Internet-connected TV box. Most homes in the United States use Roku or a similar device to stream video to their TV.
Some features to look for in a video hosting platform include white-label video players, privacy and security settings, monetization options, 24/7 customer support, and a resourceful video content management system.
4. Promote and Monetize Your Live Sports Broadcast
You’re putting so much work into this broadcast, and it only makes sense that you’d want people to watch it. In order to have your fans tune in, you have to let them know that your sporting event will be live.
If you’re broadcasting an event for a team with a large fan base, social media marketing is a great place to start. If you’re broadcasting recreational or children’s sports, email and text blasts to the parents should suffice. You can also monetize your sports coverage with a variety of video monetization options, including ad-based video on demand, subscriptions, or pay-per-view streaming.
No matter who your audience is, let them know that you are streaming pay per view sports so they can find you online.
5. Conduct Multiple Test Runs
Make sure to test your setup onsite before you go live. This will give you the opportunity to work out any glitches ahead of time, and your viewers won’t have a negative experience on game day.
We recommend doing multiple test runs to make sure everything is working properly.
Additionally, you should test your internet speed to make sure your connection is fast enough and stable enough for your live stream. You can check your speed at TestMy.net.
6. Stream Your Event
Once you’ve completed steps 1 through 5 and everything is in place, you are ready to start streaming.
On most online video hosts, starting a live stream is as simple as clicking a button.
If you are streaming with Dacast and have questions or concerns during your stream, feel free to call upon our 24/7 support team to troubleshoot in real-time.
Video Techniques for Live Streaming Sports
At this point, you should have a good idea of how to live stream sporting events, so we want to leave you with a couple more tips that will help you take your live stream sports event to the next level.
When filming any sporting event, you need camera operators who are familiar with how the specific sport works.
For live sports streaming, you should employ a minimum of two cameras: one to zoom in on the site of play and another to maintain a wider-angle on the crowd.
You’ll also need a tool to control the camera motion. At a minimum, this means using a tripod. For higher-quality shots, you’ll want a fluid-head tripod that pans smoothly and cleanly. You may also want to consider a jib arm or track to achieve some camera movement in your shots.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of setting up a live stream and how to successfully film sporting events, we’re confident that you’re equipped with everything you need to broadcast your first sports stream.
As you’ve seen, it is important to choose a video hosting management platform with over-the-top video capabilities so that it is well-equipped for sports broadcasting. Dacast has the tools you need to make your sports broadcast a success.
Not yet streaming with Dacast and ready to give our streaming solutions a try? Sign up today for free streaming for 14 days. No credit card necessary.
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