Sports Leagues: Should You Offer Free Or Pay-Per-View Live Streaming?

Sports Leagues PPV Live Streaming - Stretch Internet

When we talk to our sports league clients about whether or not they should consider pay-per-view (PPV) live streaming, no two discussions are ever the same. That’s because everyone thinks about their live streaming program in a different way—they have different goals, content, audiences, and experience levels. It’s not a cut-and-dried decision but closer to a classic fourth-and-two, where you have to look at time on the clock, field position, game flow, personnel on both sides, and more—in other words, a number of factors are involved. Or, you can just take the riverboat gambler approach and go for it!

We wholeheartedly support PPV and see it as an awesome opportunity to get more out of your live streaming. Beyond that, we’ve seen many of our sports-league clients benefit from it, but we know it’s not always right—or the right timing—for every organization to “go for it.” If you’re currently considering pay-per-view live streaming for your own league, below is a list of some of the things we discuss with our clients that might be helpful for you.


Wondering how much revenue you could be generating with your live stream? Here’s your chance to find out. 


Pay-Per-View Live Streaming Will Work Well For You If…

  • You’re comfortable with your live-streaming experience level. If you’re new to live streaming, it’s natural to be hesitant to charge. (Not to mention the fact that producing content to sell might be more stress than it’s worth for someone who’s never done it before.) But if you’ve been doing live streaming for a while and feel confident in your production workflow, you’re in a great position to start pay-per-view live streaming.
  • You produce high-quality video content consistently. We’ve talked before about how the value of your content plays into pricing. A professional broadcast naturally justifies a higher price point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do PPV if you’re not at that level! We often see clients hesitate to charge for their live stream because they think they need a three- or four-camera production and professional graphics, but production complexity isn’t as necessary as you think. We’ve seen PPV live streams with a single camera set up around a track do well at every event. The key is consistency: If your production level remains consistent through every broadcast (so viewers know what to expect), and you’re producing content regularly, then it’s a fine time to dip your toe in the PPV pool.
  • Your content has some degree of exclusivity. There’s a reason why “limited time offers” usually do well—when you’re giving people only one chance to do or see something, many will take it. Exclusivity drives demand. Other than attending the event in person, is your live stream the only way people can see the game/race/tournament? Is a portion of the audience located outside the immediate geographical area? In either case, viewers will be more willing to pay in exchange for content they consider valuable.
  • Your live streaming goals include building your digital network, improving your product, and/or generating a positive revenue stream. Think about where your live streaming program is headed. If you want to grow and improve your live streaming product, or generate a positive revenue stream, then it’s time to consider pay-per-view. Boosting production quality with better equipment and more complex production elements will ultimately attract more viewers, and the money earned can be reinvested back into your equipment, giving you an avenue for growth. Even if you don’t reinvest your PPV earnings, you could cover part or all of your live streaming costs or turn a profit. If your organization is more concerned with attracting as many viewers as possible to drive more brand awareness and eventually increase sales, then free live streaming is the better choice for you.

Could your organization benefit from pay-per-view live streaming?

In addition to those we listed above, we know there are plenty of other considerations when deciding whether to do PPV.  For example, some clients have less of a need to do PPV thanks to local sponsors who back their live streaming program. It’s all part of the “different situations, different needs” conversation.

If you think pay-per-view live streaming might be right for your organization—or even if you’re still on the fence—let’s talk! We can answer any questions you have about pay-per-view live streaming in general, and let you know how our own PPV platform works. Either way, our discussion will help you make a more informed decision.

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