Auckland sport looks to live streaming games

August 17, 2017

Auckland sport looks to live streaming games

Streaming Auckland's club sport is growing in popularity. Photo: Lisa Scott

Auckland sports clubs wanting to be seen are sidestepping broadcast deals in favour of live-streaming on their own platforms.

Auckland Rugby League’s Fox Memorial matches were broadcast on Maori TV as recently as 2015, but are now streamed directly on the ARL’s website.

Auckland Cricket has also started streaming club matches, generally using a single camera setup.

AUT Associate Professor of Sport Management Dr Geoff Dickson said streaming could be the best option for sports in fringe commercial markets.

“Not all sports are in a position to attract a broadcast deal . . . but at the very least for certain events the streaming model can work.”

Auckland Rugby League’s digital media manager Troy Hardy said broadcasting costs had been slashed since the deal with Maori TV ended.

The ARL put in $100,000 each season, of total broadcast costs of around $500,000, for two delayed match screenings each round.

The streams don’t generate revenue for the ARL but have allowed it to cut production costs, thanks to the simplicity of streaming.

Despite not having access to Maori TV’s audience any more, Mr Hardy said from a fan community perspective they can now reach a global audience directly.

“Some games have higher uptake in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne,” said Mr Hardy. “It’s being watched in the UK, the USA and Fiji.”

He couldn’t give exact numbers for how many people watched each game, but said it was “in the thousands”.

The Auckland Rugby League is using streaming set-ups like this one to save costs. Photo: Alex Braae

Dr Dickson said the ARL model was a good solution for viewers of their Rugby League competition.

“At the top end, the market is so elite and professional that there’s no room for any broadcasting other than the NRL, so this is a way to get their product out there,” says Dickson.

Experiments have been taking place with streaming Auckland club cricket in the past two years.

Auckland Cricket communications officer James Bennett said his organisation was envisioning a future in which all top club games effectively had an accessible live feed.

“Sport’s very visual, so nothing can really beat seeing it. With the way technology’s going there are ways and means of doing that, and live streaming is one of them.”

He said it also gave clubs video footage that could then be cut into highlights packages for scouting purposes and social media content to generate interest in the competition.

“Realistically watching eight or nine hours of club cricket on live stream can be a little tedious, especially if it’s not a multi camera operation. A dynamic two-minute package can be quite exciting.

“It gives other cricketers around the region a chance to see what happened at Cornwall or Parnell, and actually see it.”

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