Viewership of esports is experiencing unprecedented growth, with the number of viewers of some competitions rivaling the Super Bowl. In fact, live-streaming game audiences are expected to reach 920.3 million by 2024. To give some perspective to those numbers, consider that the NBA and MBA broadcasts had a combined total of around 142 million viewers in 2021.
The nature of how esports are accessed and consumed has led to unheard-of levels of consumption. It was reported that 22.4 billion hours of Twitch were consumed by viewers in 2022. The most viewed esports tournament in 2021, the Free Fire World Series Singapore, reached over 5 million viewers.
Although esports and traditional sports have core differences, the media systems required for both branches of sport are almost the same. The technology used to capture and broadcast a CS Go tournament is not very different than an NBA Final Four game.
In this blog, we’ll look further into similar media system needs of esports and traditional sports.
The Top 4 Needs of both Esports and Traditional Sports Media
Managing the vast amounts of media required for both traditional sports broadcasting and esports requires many of the same features in a MAM solution. Let’s look at the top 4 needs below.
1. Managing High Volumes of Media Assets
The sheer volume of live events, tournaments, and matches with hours of video from many cameras has led to an exponential increase in video content to be managed and archived for both esports and traditional sports organizations. Beyond the live broadcasts, organizations need highlight reels and social media clips, sometimes in near real-time, to engage audiences and bring them to watch ongoing events.
2. Adapting to Changing Viewing Habits
Traditional sports adhere to a schedule. There is a live broadcast, and that’s when the fans tune in. But on-demand streaming services have created a market for fans to tune in and watch as much archive and live content as they want. Viewers also commonly know and accept the idea of paying for certain matches.
Esport fans, however, have become accustomed to free streaming content that is easy to access. Unlike traditional sports, revenue is based less on viewership and more on sponsorships. Viewership for esports is also predominantly on computers and smaller screens instead of large screens for shared viewing. The primary reason is the interactive aspect of stream chats that allow viewers to discuss the event with other viewers. This has established strong online communities around esports.
Traditional sports are also expanding beyond the big screens of our living rooms. The rise of social media platforms and online channels has given sports broadcasters the challenging task of distributing their content across various platforms to be where their target audience is. Technology continues to disrupt how, when, and where we engage with content. Both esports and traditional sports media need platforms that help them to keep up with these changes more than ever.
Hyper-distribution solutions like Wildmoka are created for exactly this.
3. The Need to Excel in Speed to Delivery
With so much content to manage, coordinating distribution and finding the right content quickly can create challenges for the speed to delivery. One esport events company recently shared about the pressure they received from partners to hand off media from a 4-6 hour tournament for editing within only a few hours after the event.
During and after live events, media has to be packaged and sent to multiple destinations. To accomplish this, media needs to be organized from the time of ingest so that everything falls into place when gathering content for delivery. Platforms that can mitigate or speed up searchability and redistribution are a must.
4. The Need to Master Complex Event Productions
Much like traditional sports, esports production also requires many media sources (ISO cams, replay footage, ENG files, truck melts), live encoding, and capture devices.
While traditional sports may take into account the players, environment, and physical data, e-sports has similar data regarding player achievements, player status, and in-game elements such as weapons or power-ups. All of this can become metadata that can be used to quickly retrieve clips if the assets are tagged appropriately.
With both esports and traditional sports broadcasting, the productions are extremely technical and complex. But the bottom line is that both deal with a large number of assets that need to be managed well and retrieved quickly, which is what the right MAM can do.
The Right MAM Solution Will Tackle These Needs
Both traditional sports and esports require media management asset (MAM) solutions, but traditional MAM platforms often lack the agility required for today’s rapid hybrid cloud post-production workflows.
More and more sports media departments are considering iconik because of its ability to offer agility by managing assets on-premise and in the cloud, as well as its ability to integrate into existing media systems with the iconik API—available to all customers.
Aside from managing media, each sport organization, team, or league has unique data to collect and manage. This is where the real value of media is unlocked. Media and metadata management are powerful tools, but they only fix half of the challenge of repurposing and distributing content.
Integrating Media Management with Production and Distribution Solutions for End-to-end Production
Sports broadcasters of every kind need more integration between their solutions to streamline storage and asset management, as well as repurposing and distribution of content. Doing this successfully unlocks massive potential for faster time to market, automation, and greater monetization.
Unlocking this potential is the reason for Backlight’s integration between iconik and Wildmoka. This bi-directional connection between the two platforms enables media professionals to leverage iconik’s cloud-native media asset management platform within Wildmoka’s cloud-native production and distribution platform.
Every part of storage, accessibility, and repurposing content becomes incredibly streamlined and sets sports media teams up to do bigger productions with an agile and scalable solution built for speed.