Thursday, May 23, 2019

To live-stream or not to live-stream, that is the question.

While on my way to get a cappuccino this morning, I ran into a friend who used to be a very promising young player until serious injury ended his career.

Being a fellow Liverpool fan, we discussed the forthcoming European Champions League Final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

After a while, the conversation turned to the local game and I asked him if he’d been to see any games recently.

He said he hadn’t, but had often been on the verge of going, especially to the double-header at North Hobart Oval on Anzac Day, and to the Lakoseljac Cup match between Hobart Zebras and Devonport City at KGV Park.

What had stopped him from attending, I asked.

He said he’d recently discovered that all NPL games were live-streamed and so, on both occasions, he stayed home and watched them on his computer.

I’ve discovered a small number of others who are doing just that  -  watching on live-stream rather than attending games in person.  I have no idea at all what the stats are in terms of people preferring to watch on live-stream rather than attend in person.  All I know is that some do, and they have a variety of reasons for doing so.

But, my conversation this morning raises the vexed question of life streaming.

It’s a topic that has often been informally discussed by local fans and which has been raised by Matthew Rhodes on his Facebook site.  There are people for and people against.

I’m on the record for praising the practice and for complimenting the people who are involved in live-streaming  -  the camera operators, the technicians, the editors and the commentators.

They produce first-class coverage of the games, and I have watched some games being played in the North of Tasmania.

I generally go to all games in the South and so don’t rely on live-stream, unless there is a time clash, when I will sometimes watch a replay when I arrive home of the game I couldn’t watch.

It’s certainly a boon when you’re ill.  You can watch a game from your sickbed.

It’s also handy if you have work commitments and can’t get to a game.

I marvel at how far we’ve progressed in terms of technology.  When I was a kid growing up, and later, when I was a player and a coach, the idea of watching an entire game on a computer or TV screen was unthinkable.  It was Dick Tracy stuff.

I believe we have now reached the stage where the subject of live-streaming needs to be discussed by all parties, including clubs and Football Tasmania.  The pros and cons and suggestions need to be aired.  We don’t want to kill what is a marvellous initiative and which certainly promotes our local game here, interstate, and even overseas.

That’s all I am saying in this article.  I am sitting on the fence, but I’d love to hear the arguments for and against live-streaming, and suggestions for a policy surrounding it.

What do clubs think?  Are they losing revenue because people are not attending?  Are those people who don’t attend games not attending because they are watching the live-streams?  Do clubs even care about attendances?  Is the revenue from the gate an important source of income for them?

There, I’ve opened the can.  Let’s see what stakeholders think.  Let’s see what Football Tasmania thinks and does.  I don’t want to knock live-streaming on the head as I can see its value and I have the highest regard for those producing this service.  I admire their work and their initiative.  And, I sometimes watch it.  I’d probably be peeved if I didn’t have the option.

Let the debate begin.


Just delay it said...

keep it but delay live stream By 24 hours.just like as kid go watch Liverpool v villa.then watch match of the day at night time

Anonymous said...

You raise several interesting points in your article Walter.
I think gone are the days where you can base the popularity of a sport by the crowd number that pays their admission at the gate - it is now a total viewer reach of those at the game and watching on the live stream.
For someone that lives in the Northern half of the island and follows the Devonport Strikers, the live stream has been the best thing since sliced bread. I can watch the team play in all the big games against the top Hobart sides when they are on the road, whereas before I had to rely on the newspaper coverage.
It's probably also helped the attendances a bit at Valley Road as well when they play the lower and mid-table teams and there is no live stream available.
For the six Southern-based teams (well the ones that are regularly on the live stream) there may well be more cons than pros for the live stream, especially when they are playing each other.

Anonymous said...

I don't tend to go and watch live games anymore because I don't think it's value for money in most cases with the games on offer. Maybe the top 3 playing one another, yes, it could be.

Anonymous said...

I haven't found all to be lived screened. Maybe 1 or 2 on a weekend. In no way all

Anonymous said...

Great topic Walter some points with the live feeds .
1.Great product.
2.The same voices every week wears a bit thin need to mix it up.
3.It affects the crowds our club should get revenue as the home side .
4.Limited it to one a week a match of the week would be ideal .
5.It not about Football Tasmania and how many people watch them its about us the clubs .
6.A fee to watch the live feeds and they income go to home club is fair .
7.Football Tasmania should clear it with home clubs if they are comfortable with live feed if not 2 hour delay should be put in place .

Anonymous said...

Needs to b delayed by at least four hours only one live stream a week .say northern team down south or southern team up north for away supporters

Anonymous said...

Reply to May 24, 2019 at 8:04 AM

As per previous comments in this thread, and my own experiences, some people are not willing to pay gate fees to watch live football, when any of the bottom (6ish) clubs are involved. Include a fee on live streams and watch the online viewership plummet too.

I think the poor attendance to live games has little to do with live streams. It's more about the competition structure and the way FFT is running things.

I, for one, am a huge fan of the live stream, and the crew that run it do a fantastic job.

The Phoenix said...

I wouldn't watch any NPL if it wasn't for the stream. I try to watch every game they do. So yep I'm a fan.

Anonymous said...

Clubs pay for them hence have a right to have a say isn't that normal bussiness practice or maybe not with FFT ??

Anonymous said...

I spend far too much time in front of a screen as it is - still can't beat a live match

Anonymous said...

Football Tasmania are currently being run like a Sunday Social Club this is a prime example how self absorbed the people that work there are ! It's time the clubs had bigger say in matters like this .

Anonymous said...

But if it's delayed its not really a Live Stream is it....its kinda just a video at that point.

Anonymous said...

Agree i think if you do delay it a few hours it suits everyone problem solved

Anonymous said...

As a former Tasmanian living interstate, it is great being able to live stream and keep in touch with how my old club is going.

Anonymous said...

at 12:41 pm Recorded live just watching it later in the day

Anonymous said...

I live interstate as well and watch a lot...quality is very good. I don't want to watch on delay thanks.

Brian Young said...

My son, Neil Young, who played with South Hobart juniors and as goalie in University's 2002 Summer Cup-winning side, enjoys watching live games from Ballarat, where he lives now. It is not just locals who stream games.

Anonymous said...

I probably wouldn't watch it if it wasn't live to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.50 am. Unless you are not in Tas. you will have to save up for your $8 and pay like the real supporters.