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Personalization: Revolutionizing Live Sports Streaming

Advanced personalization strategies can be transformational for live sports streaming. Explore some of the latest personalization techniques to elevate live sports steaming experiences.
August 25, 2023
5-Minute Read
Head of Advertising & Personalization Strategy
Live sports streaming is gaining immense popularity. Fans everywhere are hooked on catching their favorite games on streaming platforms. Viewers now want hyper-personalization, better viewing options, and ads that match their choices.
Adopting advanced personalization techniques can be a game-changer for live sports streaming. Let’s find out why. 
 Importance of personalization in live sports streaming
Sports content providers are reaping the benefits of implementing personalization, including:
  1. Enhanced user experience: Personalization empowers service providers to cater to individual preferences - delivering content that aligns precisely with each viewer’s favorite sports, teams, and players. As a result, the viewing experience becomes more relevant, leading to better user satisfaction and retention rates.

  2. Increased viewer engagement: By tailoring content recommendations and notifications based on user behavior, you can keep viewers actively engaged in ongoing sports events. Personalized alerts regarding key moments, upcoming matches, or related news attract users to return frequently to the platform, fostering a deeper connection with the content. 

  3. Better fan loyalty and retention: Acknowledging and meeting fans' interests breeds a sense of loyalty to the platform. Through personalized experiences, service providers can cultivate long-term relationships with audiences and effectively reduce churn.

  4. Customized user interfaces (UI): Personalized user interfaces provide sports fans quick access to their favorite teams’ schedules, scores, and news updates. The convenience and efficiency of a tailored UI significantly enhance the overall user experience.

  5. Improved content discovery: Sophisticated personalization algorithms enable users to effortlessly explore new sports events and leagues that align with their interests. This expands their horizons, exposing them to a diverse range of sports content beyond what traditional browsing might offer.

The State of Live Streaming: How to Stream Events and Sports Efficiently

Innovative strategies to personalize live sports streaming experiences

According to Deloitte Insights, nearly one-third of fans desire personalization that enhances their sports-viewing experiences. There are various techniques to boost personalization and enhance the live sports streaming experience, which includes:
Multiview: enabling a more immersive experience with multiple perspectives

With multiview, service providers enable viewers to choose from multiple camera angles during live sports events. Instead of being limited to a single broadcast perspective, users can select their preferred views, offering them a personalized and interactive experience. 

Consider a basketball game where viewers can switch between camera feeds to follow their favorite player's movements on the court. Enthusiasts might choose to watch the game from different vantage points, such as courtside or overhead, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the gameplay. This way, each viewer can become immersed in the action, focusing on specific players, pivotal moments, or unique angles.

Real-time graphics and data: empowering viewers with information

By leveraging real-time graphics and data, service providers can overlay live sports events with up-to-date statistics, scores, and other relevant information. These graphical elements provide viewers with additional context and insights during the game. You can even offer viewers the option to choose which graphics and data they wish to see. 

Some viewers might be interested in player statistics, while others focus on team performance metrics. During a tennis match, viewers can select which on-screen graphics to display, such as serving speed, rally duration, or player comparison. In golf, personalized graphics may show a golfer's progress on the leaderboard or the distance to the hole. The sports streaming experience becomes more informative and engaging for each viewer in such cases. 

Watch together: fostering social connections

With the “watch together” feature, viewers can enjoy live sports events simultaneously with friends and family, regardless of physical location. Imagine a group of friends spread across different cities, all watching a basketball game together through a watch-together platform. They can cheer, discuss game highlights, and celebrate their team's victory in real time. You are providing viewers with a personalized communal experience that strengthens engagement and maximizes monetization scope. 

Watch together facilitates real-time interaction, such as synchronized playback and instant messaging, creating a shared viewing experience. By letting users curate their viewing groups and share the experience with like-minded individuals, service providers are fostering social connections among fans. 
Thematic sports channels: tailoring content to niche audiences

Thematic sports channels are specialized streaming channels dedicated to specific sports or targeted audiences. These channels curate content related to particular sports leagues, teams, or sports events. Viewers can select channels aligned with their favorite sports, ensuring that the content resonates with their preferences. 

A thematic sports channel could be dedicated to showcasing the highlights and interviews of a specific soccer league. Tennis enthusiasts might subscribe to a channel that broadcasts live coverage of major tennis tournaments. You can engage viewers on a deeper level with thematic channels, reinforcing their loyalty and connection to the platform.

Gamification: infusing interactivity and fun into live sports streaming

Service providers can introduce interactive gaming elements into the live sports streaming experience. Viewers are presented with challenges, quizzes, or predictions related to the sports event, adding an element of play and competition. 

During a baseball game, viewers might be prompted to predict the outcome of the next pitch or the player who will score the next home run. In motor racing, fans could participate in virtual races and compete with friends to guess the race winner. By actively participating in live sports events through gamification, viewers shape experiences according to their preferences, making the game far more interactive and enjoyable for each individual.
Multi-language commentary: translating live sports commentary in real time
Service providers can enhance viewer engagement globally with AI-driven live sports commentary translation. This AI technology retains the original voice and style of the commentator. The commentary can be translated into multi-regional languages keeping intact sports idioms and colloquial speech in that particular language. 
Live commentary translations make sports content accessible to different regions, scaling viewership and regional monetization opportunities.

Personalizing live sports streaming with advertising technology

Service providers can take personalization in live streaming to the next level with targeted ads. Deliver a seamless live sports streaming experience and increase monetization opportunities with personalized advertising approaches, that include:

Server-side ad insertion (SSAI): seamlessly integrating targeted ads

SSAI is an advertising technology that integrates personalized ads into the live stream content and stitches the ads into the stream. By analyzing user data such as preferences, demographics, and behavior, service providers can seamlessly insert relevant ads into the stream in real time. SSAI enhances viewer satisfaction and minimizes ad fatigue, leading to an increase in ad effectiveness and revenues for content providers. 

Frequency capping: managing ad exposure wisely

Frequency capping is an ad management technique that ensures viewers are not bombarded with the same ad repeatedly. Service providers can customize ad exposure based on user interactions to make sure that viewers do not feel overwhelmed. This practice prevents ad oversaturation and ensures a balanced and enjoyable viewing experience. Viewers remain engaged and have a more positive perception of personalized ads, contributing to higher ad retention rates.

Advertising storytelling: crafting memorable ad experiences

Advertising storytelling involves delivering a series of targeted ads to viewers in a specific order, creating a cohesive narrative or message about a brand or product. This technique relies on personalization to deliver relevant ads in the desired sequence. You present viewers with a captivating storyline that unfolds through a series of ads. Viewers can easily recall the brands and form a deeper connection with the advertised products or services. As a result, you can create a memorable and personalized ad experience for each viewer.

Personalization in live sports streaming allows service providers to stay competitive in this growing market. And a cloud-native streaming solution can make that happen. 

Make personalization in live streaming possible with the cloud

Cloud-based technology offers the scalability, real-time data processing, and access to cutting-edge machine learning needed to fuel tailored experiences. With cloud-native technology like SSAI, service providers can deliver personalized ads to millions of viewers. 
By embracing the cloud and innovative advertising technology, live sports streaming is ready for an era where fans take the spotlight in every thrilling moment. Personalize live streaming content and maximize your revenue with Harmonic's VOS®360 Media and Harmonic's VOS®360 Ad SaaS solutions. 
Robert Gambino is Head of Advertising & Personalization Strategy. He provides business development and strategic direction for the company’s cloud SaaS platform with a focus on targeted advertising, personalization, origination and playout. Robert joined Harmonic after 17 years in telecom, running presales, architecture, and product strategy groups for operators and vendors in the video and ad tech spaces.

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