The growth and new technologies of specialist sports filming company FilmMyMatch is helping drive the migration of live sports to digital platforms.
By providing affordable live streaming of grassroots sports, the company is opening up new communication and revenue channels for sporting organisations, teams and brands across the UK.
Driven by online powerhouses such as Facebook and YouTube, live streaming now gives minority sports – along with lower-tier leagues – a great opportunity to engage with their audiences and fans. It also offers unique scope to potential sponsors to cost-effectively tap into a new audience or grow its existing customer base.
Early UK sporting adopters of FilmMyMatch’s live streaming service include the Scottish Women’s Premier League, England Boxing, a range of County Football Associations (including Manchester, Sussex, Kent and Middlesex FAs), the Northern Premier League, Scottish Netball, English Lacrosse and the prestigious Rugby School.
There is also growing demand for live streaming from the company’s existing client list of over 3,000 amateur sports teams across the UK, with AFC Bingley and Hendon Town FC amongst the first teams to use live streaming to help drive their profile and engagement.
FilmMyMatch Director Dave Roe said: “There’s a real buzz around live streaming and its future potential – in terms of team and sport awareness and the revenue it can help generate, which in turn can be reinvested to drive further growth.
“Consumers are increasingly familiar with online viewing platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Now TV at home, and also services such as Facebook Live, Periscope and Twitch via their Smartphones. And there is an insatiable appetite for live sport, as evidenced by the BBC committing to stream 1000 extra hours of live sport a year via BBC Sport Online and the iPlayer.
“With 96% of 16 to 24-year olds now owning Smartphones, and 39 million people in the UK regularly engaging with social media, the opportunities for grassroots sports to increase reach and engagement with local, national and potentially global audiences, are huge. Not to mention the financial benefits that this extended reach can bring for clubs by making them a more attractive marketing proposition to local, or even national, brands.”
Online sportswear retailer kitlocker.com is the first brand to team up with FilmMyMatch, providing prize packages for Goals of the Month filmed at cup finals across the country. Oli Brierley, Planning and Activation Manager at kitlocker.com said the partnership has provided a unique opportunity for the brand to engage with its target audience. “We’re excited because we see how highly localised, original video content around matches can attract a distinct, well-engaged audience.”
Tom Wenham, Head Coach at English Lacrosse supports the advantages of live-streaming for minority sports. “Unlike mainstream sports, we struggle to attract audiences and therefore sponsorship. Having film access to our games – especially prestigious end of season matches and international games – gives us great opportunities.
“With help from the experts at FilmMyMatch we can stage an event, pre-promote the opportunity to sponsors, engage with audiences and create lifetime content for our social channels which brings our game to life to a much wider audience. At each stage there now are sponsorship opportunities to drive much-needed revenue.”
Emma Priestley, Content Manager at the Rugby Football League is in total agreement. “It may be grassroots sport, but it is presented with the same level of professionalism and passion you would expect from a mainstream broadcaster and it is improving all the time.”
Darren Ford, Marketing & Communications Manager at Sussex County FA believes that live streaming technology made available at all levels of the game would benefit it. “It means the conversation is not always about the big clubs and their big money deals, but about honest, grounded amateur games attracting a bit of sponsor attention of their own via high quality filming technology now available to all. This is grassroots football enjoyed by 1000s up and down the country every week which you can now watch online and is attracting increasing audiences and professionalism from filming partners.”