Traditionally, the professional sports industry hasn’t embraced consumer technologies that let anyone broadcast live streaming video feeds to the world via smartphones.
However, the Jacksonville Jaguars may be the exception.
Today the NFL franchise kicked off a partnership with video service Stre.am, which will allow the more than 5,000 attendees of the Jaguar’s NFL draft party to act as amateur sports broadcasters. Jaguar fans just need to own an iPhone with Stre.am’s free iOS app installed.
From there, the Jaguars’ management team will be able to survey any video feed being captured by fans from all aspects of the event. And when the franchise finds a particularly good live stream, it can redistribute it to screens throughout the stadium and even a designated website for offsite fans.
But the decision to encourage fans to live stream sporting events to friends could be viewed as risky by the pro sports industry. It would essentially take away from the very lucrative partnerships sports leagues have with broadcast TV networks.
Those networks offer a significant source of advertising revenue in exchange for providing a live video broadcast to viewers at home.
By contrast, Stre.am’s service can’t bring in that kind of revenue — which begs the question of why pro sports would want to take people away from those TV broadcasts.
“This is not a recording. It’s a live stream, and we have the ability to post streams that are compliant, based on the moderation tools we will be given,” Jaguars SVP of fan engagement Hussain Naqi said in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat.
“We are very focused on the fan experience, and we know this will significantly move the needle on how our fans enjoy the game at our stadium.”
As Naqi pointed out, Stre.am isn’t letting fans take home personal recordings of these live events. But Stre.am users do have access to videos they capture after the event ends via Stre.am’s cloud-based service. That might be an appealing proposition for tech savvy sports fans who usually capture live video through top streaming services like YouTube and Ustream.
Naqi explained that what it’s developing with Stre.am is “essentially closed circuit for the stadium. It’s an in-stadium social engagement tool.”
Stre.am also lends itself to re-imagining the way sports broadcasting is currently done, according to Stre.am’s creators.
“Instead of following live video solely based on the person in front of the camera, we are much more interested in empowering people to watch live video based on what’s both in front and behind the camera (mobile phone),” Stre.am cofounder Justin VanBogart told VentureBeat.
“When the privilege of telling a story through video was only reserved for a few, focus was on what was in the frame.
“Now that we all carry a video camera, the context of who is shooting, when they are shooting, where they are shooting, and who they are shooting with is almost as important as the story being told in front of the lens,” he added.
VanBogart said Stre.am isn’t restricted to sports and can be used for most live events.
“We want to be the paint brush for people to use on canvases from sporting events, to birthday parties, to breaking news, to NFL games, to destination weddings, to extreme sports, to hospital visits with a loved one with the entire family watching,” VanBogart said.
The service, which launched only a month ago, is actually one of three video products developed through VanBogart’s company InfiniteTakes. The South Carolina-based startup, VanBogart said, launched in January 2014 and raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding.