NFL on Yahoo! and the amazing future of live streaming sports

During Week 7 of the 2015 NFL season the world got it’s first glimpse into the future of sports broadcasting with the first live streaming broadcast by NFL on Yahoo!  As part of the NFL International Series, the Bills vs. Jaguars game in London was the perfect opportunity to showcase this incredible new technology.  Perhaps it’s not the surface technology that is new as internet video and live streaming is something that most millennials, and older football fans alike, have had experience with.  The giant undertaking involved the idea of millions of users viewing the same live feed at the same time, that’s the accomplishment that took a high level of technological ingenuity and the service performed well.

Creating an entertaining broadcast on a different platform gives opportunity to develop content that caters to the platform.  Even though the live stream can be viewed on standard televisions with apps or devices such as chromecast or AppleTV, the future of media viewing is moving towards devices such as smart phones and tablets.  Viewing a program on such a device provides for a more intimate experience with less distractions.  When it comes to the NFL on Yahoo!, even the commercials were more entertaining because they kept our attention.  As soon as a commercial comes on the big screen TV we tend to shift our attention as we either change the station, check our phones or engage in discussion about the game.  Live streaming keeps us focused, partly for the reason that we may be unsure about how fast we can re-connect if we navigate away from the stream.  Aside from that, Yahoo! did a great job at running ads that were new and fit with the live stream such as web based products and services.  Included in those were the understated but highly effective ads for Yahoo! Daily Fantasy.  It’s about time that an established and reputable company got involved in this market and without even trying the site, many would expect a better product and experience from that delivered by those obnoxious ads from the daily fantasy startups that we can’t seem to get away from.

The potential for customer targeted advertisement exists in the world of live streaming and that could be exciting.  The idea of less commercials is appealing to all viewers and live streaming has potential there as well.  It would be amazing if some of these commercial breaks would be reinvented completely and keep us in the game.  Imagine a break in the action where the broadcast remained in place from the stadium or arena and the broadcasters took us even deeper into the live experience with close ups of assistant coaches working with players on the sideline, extended scenes of fans in the stands or corridors of the stadium, cheerleaders performing full routines and more, all of this without the constant chatter of the announcers and most important to make it work, all of this while modern branding techniques are being used on the screen so as to advertise a company while keeping us on the field of play.

The NFL on Yahoo! is a smashing success and the future of football viewing.  The stream was smooth and very easy to access.  Those viewing over cellular need to be careful or the data usage might result in a very high bill, but society knows to use WiFi and some people even have unlimited data.  There is a new era of media in our midst and it couldn’t be a better time to be fan of the NFL as they partner up with Yahoo! to take our viewing experience to the next level.

Frank Corto