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Broadcasting/ Streaming Solutions for Long-tail Football Right Holders

Learn how to live stream your games in the easiest way !

Live streaming on mycujoo

By Shoko Tsuji

Let us know if this sounds familiar: you are a football club, league or federation. You participate in or organise many competitions at various levels, gender, competitiveness or age-groups. Each of these competitions attract a certain audience - ranging from thousands of spectators to only a handful of family members. But those are not covered by local TV stations. You seemingly don’t have any options to bring your matches to interested audiences - be it your fans, your players, their families, the coaches. You have heard of this thing called “live streaming” and it is an option that you would like to explore, but you do not know where to start.

Broadcasting a sports event - what do you know about it?

An overwhelming majority of football organisers are struggling with broadcasting as a means to develop their activities.

For the majority of those matches, as they are organised within what we call "the long tail" - competitions or events whose (perceived) value is too low to generate much interest by broadcasters - this absence of broadcaster interest has represented an impossible barrier to cross. Your core competence and purpose is to train players and organise matches and you barely have enough resources to do these two things right and now you have to add video production to that job description... Really?

Technology and progress go hand in hand (most of the time) to make things easier for people and organisations. Nowadays, broadcasting a football match can be done in a myriad of ways. Your ability to broadcast your matches to potential audiences is no longer defined or constrained by a threshold of audience.

If one person wants to watch it - that is reason enough to stream it.

Broadcasting vs live streaming - a difference?

We may want to go over a couple of definitions together. Is there a fundamental difference between broadcasting and live streaming? Not really - essentially the two words describe one and the same concept: sending content "live" (or as close to live as possible) to viewers. However, particularly in the sports content context, the terms broadcasting/broadcasters have traditionally been used to describe television broadcasters, while live streaming is being used as a differentiating term to describe the internet broadcasters. As a content rights holder (see note at the bottom), you may actually be both "broadcasting" to a local TV station while also “live streaming” on a web-based platform such as mycujoo.

Live streaming on mycujoo

Depending on the value of the content, as a rights holder you may be able to require your broadcasters to produce the content for you as part of the rights acquisition agreement. But mostly, for less premium rights properties, the burden of production falls on the rights holder. This can seem like an impossible hill to climb at long tail level. "Can I replicate TV broadcasting quality?"

This is not the right question to ask. It depends on your resources and capacities - and there are actually many options available for you to create your own production and distribution capacity in the most flexible way possible. Let us give you an overview of these options!

An easier world: streaming with your phone on mycujoo

This may sound cliche, but it is now a reality for football: anyone, literally, can become a content producer. 90% of the population owns a mobile device in almost all of the world’s developed countries. Smartphone camera technology has evolved to such a high degree of quality, that it can be used to create content - and not just content in the "your daughter takes a selfie with the Eiffel Tower in the background" type - content in the "distributed to a wider audience" type. If a Hollywood director thinks a phone is good enough...

And if you are extremely tight on resources, your own personal smartphone (and a stable internet connection - 4G is better than Wifi for stability - as well as 3 to 5GB of mobile data) is all you need to broadcast a full match. Internet is the key here - the minimum upload speed required is 2.5 mbps, as below that streaming would still be possible, albeit in a very improper quality for the viewer. And this option also presents the advantage to be extremely flexible and quick to install.

So you have your phone, your connection, you are set up to hit “go live”. You now need to figure out where this is going to go. There are many platforms that allow you to live stream and it can be tempting to reason in terms of “where is my community” as a guiding criteria. However this is a short sighted decision. First, it really is not your community. Those platforms are only allowing you to access their community. This is a huge difference for you.

Second, those platforms do not provide you with football or sports specific features which will help you enhance your production value. Sports graphics (think scoreboard and timer), highlights tagging, metadata and statistics creation... all are features that viewers are already accustomed to and are expecting from a match production. Not only are these features readily available on mycujoo, they can be activated in real time, and directly through the filming smartphone thanks to our solo operator tool.

Just like on TV: the camera setup

Oh - using a smartphone, this must be for the complete amateurs only.

This couldn’t be more wrong. Our technology is relevant from one viewer to millions - we just believe that one size doesn’t fit all, and therefore we adapt to all shapes and sizes. Hence, the setup you want is the one that will work on mycujoo, not the other way around. If you have the resources and the need, more advanced options are fully compatible with our technology.

Live streaming on mycujoo

Let’s explore scenarios here. You may be keen on acquiring a video camera, or already happen to own one. Live streaming with a camcorder requires a slightly more complex setup and at least a two-person operation, but enables you to produce a better quality feed and zoom in and out with ease.

If that is a road you are keen on exploring, and after countless tests with different solutions, we have ultimately come up with the following setup: 1) Camcorder with HDMI input/output, 2) 4G router or Ethernet, 3) tripod and 4) streaming device. We are quite flexible with the camcorders, routers and tripods, as long as they have the minimum specs required (please see the equipment requirements here). However, regarding streaming devices we recommend a specific device from Cerevo called LiveShell, as it is easy to operate, budget friendly and allows us at mycujoo to adjust settings remotely.

Once again mycujoo’s technology and platform offers a high degree of flexibility - we are compatible with all existing streaming devices in the market. Additionally, unlike capture devices, the setup we recommend does not require you to use additional external software or to connect the camcorder to a laptop. Our content studio - the backend interface where the match will be "produced" by tagging the various match events such as kickoff, goals, fouls etc - can be operated remotely with a stable internet condition being the only requirement. Concretely, this means that the camera operator needs to be in the stadium, but the "producer" doesn’t have to be and can do this from his office or home.

Enrich your streams - delight your fans

Once you are comfortable with streaming operations, several options are available to enrich the viewers’ experience. A relatively easy way to add more value is to add live commentary. All you need to do is plug a microphone into your mobile phone or camcorder before the live stream starts and make sure that the microphone is picking up both the voice of the commentator as well as the atmosphere of the stadium.

You might also be interested in exploring multi-camera production to increase your production level as you become comfortable enough with a one-camera setup and have the resources to go further, or your fans were used to a multi-camera production before and you feel that the expectation from them is to keep this type of production. Here we may play a bit of an advising role though - do not think that multiple cameras are a must. While it does enrich the broadcast and can help with storytelling, in particular during downtimes of the match, it is not an absolute requirement - over 85% of the live footage shown during a broadcast is actually from the main, central camera. Besides, multi-camera operations carry significant costs.

These are just a few of the many options available in the market that we recommend, based on our experience working with long-tail football right holders around the world. We encourage you to select the solution that best fits your organisation, taking into consideration the equipment, manpower, budget and internet conditions available. And of course, mycujoo will be alongside you to make this experience as successful as possible.

Shoko Tsuji
Partner Success Manager - Asia

(1) Note: if you organise a match, you are a content rights holder. Even if this match is the meeting between a handful of toddlers in the park, technically you hold the rights to that content... Don’t underestimate yourself!