Turner Sports recently hosted the inaugural SportPro OTT USA conference in the United States to bring together the leading sports over-the-top (OTT) streaming companies from around the world.
Hosted at Turner Studios in Atlanta, the two-day summit featured over 15 sessions and more than 40 speakers focused on the growing sports OTT industry. A variety of topics were discussed including the latest trends and expectations driving the American market, innovations and challenges in delivering OTT content, how to protect live sports from piracy, the rise of eSports, business models and the best practices for OTT platforms. Some of the speakers included MLS Senior Vice President of Media Seth Bacon, Deputy Managing Director of North America for beIN Media Group Antonio Briceno, Chief Strategy Officer of fuboTV Hannah Brown, President of Turner Sports Lenny Daniels, and Telemundo Deportes President Ray Warren.
“The OTT sector is one of the fastest growing and most disruptive sectors within the sports industry today,” explained SportsPro’s Managing Director Nick Meacham in an interview with World Soccer Talk. “Yet, there is actually no other event that is dedicated to OTT in sports in the market globally. We run now three of them across the globe in the U.S., in Asia and also in Europe.
The last decade has seen the rise of OTT platforms. Services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ are now household necessities. In the world of sports, the same thing has happened with outlets such as ESPN+, Fanatiz, B/R Live and Sling TV, among others.
SportsPro has been in the media industry for approximately 12 years. Initially, the organization focused mostly on the day-to-day aspects of the sports business. When OTT services became the primary way that most consumers viewed content, they realized the opportunity was there to become a prominent voice in the industry. Since then, they’ve added OTT platforms into the many topics they cover already and decided to branch out and put together events seven years ago that would benefit the industry and public.
“[OTT] is the future of broadcasting,” said Meacham. “It’s the future of sports consumption. And so, we’re very fortunate to sit in that space where we’re the only ones really talking about it and we’re getting great support across the industry because everyone is looking for answers. And [we’re] not saying that we have them all, but we’re trying to help people find them.”
The venue of Turner Studios was iconic because it’s the home of the award-winning show Inside the NBA with Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith along with their MLB studio show, the UEFA Champions League’s studio show and the upcoming NCAA Men’s basketball tournament studio.
The summit allowed attendees to network with their contemporaries, learn from the industry’s leaders and innovators and to view case studies to see the successes and failures of certain companies among other things. The OTT Sports Summit will also take place in Singapore on October 21-22 and in Madrid from December 1-3.
“It’s a really exciting time in the industry,” said Meacham. “The term OTT itself is a term that’s connected with the technology but it’s just the future of sports consumption. It’s such an exciting time and moment in the industry whether it’s just OTT or just digital. I think there’s never been a better time to work in the industry and we’re trying to keep on top of it and be really valuable to everyone, not only in the U.S. but across the globe.”
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