If you run a sports league whose games are live streamed, you’re probably an expert multitasker.
During every game you’re coordinating all the action—managing players and volunteers, distributing game notes, preparing staffers, setting up and keeping the whole live streaming process going. So when your phone rings right before kickoff and your quarterback’s uncle’s friend’s girlfriend in Pennsylvania wants to know how to log in and watch, your frustration is understandable. But how you handle that call—and the many others that are sure to follow—is crucial, as the success of your league’s live stream depends in part on your viewer support.
The larger the league, the more help you’ll need. If you’re shopping for a platform provider to stream your games, support is one of the first things you should ask about. Just ask Stretch client Ben Turchin of Varsity Media.
Oh, wait—we already did. For him, viewer support was a dealbreaker.
A Viewer Support Story
Ben, can you tell us about Varsity Media and your live streaming program?
We’re a sports video production company primarily based in two markets in New York State: Rochester and Long Island. But we also travel all over the northeast year round to do filming and editing of every sport at every level and every age group. We’re also the official videographer for American Youth Football & Cheer, which is the world’s largest organization of its kind. My business has been around since 2010, but we started live streaming in 2016.
Tell us about your first experience with live streaming.
Every year, American Youth Football & Cheer holds its championships in Florida. We’d been filming these games and competitions for a few years, but in 2016, they asked us to live stream for the first time. They knew there was an audience, because youth football teams come from all over the country to attend—Hawaii, Seattle, California, New Jersey. Many of the players’ extended family members wouldn’t be able to come, but would definitely want to watch a live stream.
Have an event you’re interested in live streaming? Schedule a free demo of the Stretch platform to see how we can help.
After doing some research, I found a platform provider we could work with. They were great with setting up our infrastructure beforehand by helping us customize our live stream portal and setting up multiple stream options. During the 2016 championships we covered 230 youth football games in six days on eight fields, and close to 400 cheerleading routines over two days. Most of it was live streamed.
Trouble was, the phones were constantly ringing. Lots of viewers had issues logging in; others had trouble accessing the stream from their phones and tablets. (Keep in mind that a sizable chunk of our viewers are grandparents who aren’t necessarily savvy with technology.) All hands were already on deck; we had 15 people at the championships just to produce the event itself. Myself and my partner spent a lot of time dealing with support questions when we should’ve been spending more time on the event itself—videotaping, producing, and dealing with our own technical issues.
Were your support issues the primary reason you ended up looking for a new platform provider?
Yeah, the 17-hour drive back to New York gave us plenty of time to recap. We called Stretch from the car.
You live streamed the same event with Stretch in December 2017. How did it compare?
It was amazing. The problems we’d had the year before with people being unable to access the stream from their phones and tablets didn’t happen with Stretch. There were still some questions about logging in (though much fewer), but very little, if any, technical questions about accessing the stream once people found it.
We’re not a gigantic company—and we don’t have the resources to handle phone questions about how to get online. Stretch is good at managing viewer support. Now we consider them a partner.
Give your league the live stream support your viewers need.
If you don’t have the resources you need to provide excellent viewer support for your league’s live stream, let us take care of customer support for you! We understand that live events require fast response times, so we do everything we can to help your viewers get in the game as quickly and easily as possible. We have a track record of replying to all viewer emails within 15 minutes or less!
At Stretch, we stream more than 65,000 events every year, and our “freakishly good” support continues to be one of the most highly-valued aspects of our client partnerships. Our goal is to make sure that every game you stream goes smoothly, for everyone involved. If you want to know more about how we work and what we can do for your league, get in touch!