Sports Fans Rally for Diverse Viewing Options

Sports fans’ access to content is changing. Fans are still watching their favorite teams and athletes, but they’re following along while they’re on the go instead of at home. And according to industry leaders, that’s the way fans want it.

Executives from CNN, Formula 1, WWE, DAZN and Boingo Wireless participated in a panel on “Engaging the Fan of the Future” on Day 2 of MWC Barcelona.


Putting power in the fans’ hands

 Consumers are engaging with live content more and more outside the home, according to Chris Berend, SVP of Digital Video at CNN.

“When news breaks, we see a spike in connected device engagement,” said Berend.

But while live viewing sports is still important to consumers, so is giving them the power to watch it wherever and whenever, according to Peter Parmenter, SVP Business Development at DAZN.

“Our philosophy is to give the customer choice,” said Parmenter. “We are putting control into the hands of the consumer, rather than being pigeonholed into a singular linear channel distribution.”

Marek Borowik, Customer Marketing at Formula 1, echoed the sentiment that content should be distributed in a variety of ways to increase its reach.

“You’ve got to make sure the product itself is engaging,” said Borowik. “Keep the season going for as long as you can.”


The winning secret

Once fans are reached and engaged, it’s up to companies to monetize those engagements, said Doug Lodder, SVP Business Development at Boingo Wireless. Companies should monetize fans’ time on their phones, whether it’s through exclusive team content, augmented and virtual reality, and more.

“Turn digital distraction into engaging distraction,” said Lodder.

But monetizing interactions for a growing fan base requires companies to grow their staff as well.

“Data scientists play a critical role,” said Jayar Donlan, EVP Advanced Media at WWE. “We went from one [data scientist] to 60 to analyze the characteristics of our fans.”

And it has paid off—media content has gone from 20 percent of total revenue to 70 percent.


To the stadium and beyond

Outside of scaling their staff, companies will also need to scale their networks to support high-quality, efficient broadcasts of content. Especially when fans are all in one place, like in a stadium.

“The load on networks in stadiums has increased exponentially,” said Lodder, explaining that when fans are at a venue, there is a huge jump in content uploads.

Whether fans are at home, on the road, or in the stadium, companies need to be ready to engage them through the streaming models and devices they use most.


To learn more about monetizing engaging sports experiences, visit

 For more insights from MWC Barcelona, visit



CSG Insights Team

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