Earlier in the week, Nine announced the launch of Stan Sport, a live and on-demand sports streaming service to begin in 2021.
Nine also announced it has secured a new three-year partnership with Rugby Australia worth $100m. As part of the deal, Nine will broadcast one live Super Rugby match per week, with rest to be streamed on Stan Sport. Rugby Australia has also stated that premier matches like The Bledisloe Cup, The Rugby Championship and other Wallabies tests will be streamed on Stan Sport. Since then Nine and Stan have also secured the three-year rights to Wimbledon and Roland Garros, two of the tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments. While some of the matches will be available on Nine’s free-to-air channels, all of the matches will be available via a Stan subscription. Other sporting partnerships are to be announced in the next few weeks.
So with sports broadcasting now spread out via several providers (Foxtel, Sky, Optus Sport and Stan) what are the implications for venues with a live sport offer? While no details of commercial subscriptions have yet to be announced, many operators are looking forward to see if the new entrant will make the sports broadcasting landscape more competitive.
“I think more competition for sports distribution can be positive, and would expect in addition to market factors that the ACCC will encourage affordable access for individuals and pubs alike to achieve the best outcome for consumers,” stated James Sinclair, CEO of The Signature Group, which operates The Sporting Globe venues.
“We aren’t yet sure what Stan Sports offering will look like for pubs, but welcome a new entrant and will work with them to bring our customers the best of sports including Rugby Union from around the globe.
Patrick Galloway, director of Sportsyear said the entrance of Stan into sports broadcasting was fantastic news for venues.
“Ultimately this is a huge win for venues, because in the long run, this will lead to more competitive pricing. Stan Sport, or Nine will join the likes of Foxtel, Optus Sport and Tabcorp as the key live sport content providers.
“There will be more competition than ever between the players, which means venues will have more bargaining power.”
With Stan and Nine joining Optus in showing sports via streaming, venues will have to adapt to this new kind of broadcast – which should ultimately reduce costs and infrastructure necessary for venues in the long term.
“A commercial streaming model has much potential and I believe can be efficient for both venues and the broadcaster. I expect to see more of this into the future and hope broadcasters adopt streaming with aim to reduce costs and increase viewership,” stated Sinclair.
While long-term a move to streaming will be easier, it means venues will need to start setting up some new infrastructure now.
“I would suggest that if you haven’t already started to think about streaming live sport off the internet from a technical stand point, you should start now,” stated Galloway.
“A lot of venues are still cabled in the traditional manner, which is fine, but they need to start to develop that streaming capability. A strong internet connection and the ability to get your live sport stream onto the big screen with sound, when you need it, is a great first step.”
The future sporting landscape
So what does this news mean for live sport in pubs in the future?
“In 2021, venues will have more options than ever in terms of the live sport mix they deliver,” suggested Galloway.
“Australians have never before loved so much sport, and there is a huge opportunity to drive foot-traffic by creating atmosphere with live sport experiences.”
Galloway suggests that some venues are already experimenting with free streaming by showing local club team matches or any other community match they sponsor.
“I [also] expect more streaming players to enter the market, and we already have hard plans from European combat streamer DAZN to join soon.”
International examples show that multiple sports broadcasters is of great benefit to both venues and their patrons, states Sinclair. It’s just up to venues to create the atmosphere that gets patrons frequenting your venue.
“In America, venues and consumers have benefited as sports content and its popularity continue to grow. Competition has resulted in access to venues at affordable rates to help broadcasters secure viewers. Ultimately more access and content consumption creates higher consumer engagement in sports, and while watching at home is an option it’s not as good as watching a game with friends at the pub.”
Image: Facebook/The Sporting Globe Chermside