Right now every football fan has their eyes on the final battle for European club supremacy. This month two key matches, the UEFA Europa League Final set for the 18th of May and the UEFA Champions League Final slated for the 28th of May will decide the champions in Europe.
Recently it was announced that popular online video service YouTube will be part of that UEFA experience and viewers in the United Kingdom will be able to live stream both the Europa League and the Champions League finals. (Viewers outside this territory will probably work around the territorial restrictions with a proxy service)
This comes after YouTube reached an agreement with BT Sport, the TV broadcaster that currently has the rights to UEFA league football.
BT Sport is a pay TV service and according to a Business Insider report, the introduction of streaming alternative is supposed to be its way of dealing with a drop in viewers that it experienced from a high of over 4 million viewers registered by the previous right holder ITV, to BT Sport’s own 200,000 total.
The UEFA Champions League’s access over the internet is a major endorsement for the growing trend of streaming alternatives for live sports. Earlier this year the United States’ NFL inked a streaming deal with Twitter while SnapChat also entered into an arrangement to share clips from the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.
In Africa, the same wave of disruption hasn’t been as rapid or extended to various platforms. While the live streaming of sports has been explored by leading content providers like Supersport an engagement of social networks like Facebook and Twitter is yet to be trialed.
However, this is likely to change and most probably in the short to medium term. IPTV services like Kwesé TV are eyeing a cross-continent launch with a strong emphasis on the delivery of sports which, if successful, will go a long way in cultivating an appetite for the viewing of live sports through the internet.
While there are still some major factors that need to be dealt with before this become a reality such as a reduction cost of data, a very visible reliance on mobile technology for media consumption coupled with a huge appetite for major sporting events like soccer finals could lead to a new way of experiencing sports.
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