Europe, Get Ready For NFL Game Pass Europe OTT Streaming
NFL Game Pass Europe launched in time for the New England Patriots dismantling by the Kansas City Chiefs in game one of the 2017 season. American football fans in 61 European markets can now pay to subscribe to stream live games and compelling, data rich content with multiple screen digital device portability and user control of the feed. The Sports Techie community blog chatted with Sam Jones, CEO of OverTier, from his London, England based UK office to learn more about the NFL’s initiative to grow the game oversees and why this partnership driven corporate team that includes, the NFL, Deltatre, a leading international sports media and technology provider, along with ad agency and marketing experts at WPP, all believing they can succeed in a soccer happy culture.
Why NFL Game Pass Europe Will Succeed or Not
Will video streams in HD, real-time game data aimed at the new, casual and fantasy football fan alike as well nearly 40 new technology enhanced features be enough to help the league increase viewership after having the lowest watched opening game kickoff in the last four years? Are domestic violence cases such as Ezekiel Elliot, the concussion and CTE cover up that is creeping towards mainstream awareness, waning interest from the millennial generation and Gen Z, added to low approval ratings of Commissioner Roger Goodell, all making the owner’s nervous about the future causing the NFL to look across the globe for increased fandom so they can say the business is in a growth mode not a decline?
WPP conducted a deep dive; research based survey of 5,001 existing GamePass subscribers then analyzed the data and feedback to find out what was missing and to discover trends. They also concluded that yes, the time is right to expand outside the United States, Canada and Mexico through the use of an OTT streaming service over the pond.
Jones painted a picture of a local fan getting up in the morning to go to work, downloading his or her favorite teams game and watching a condensed 40-minute version while commuting on the train, bus or rideshare to their destination. The same can be said for travelers, vacationers and busy soccer Mom’s, Dad’s and kids.
Chiefs vs. Patriots NFL Game Pass Condensed Full Game | Every Play from Week 1
Game Pass provides easy access to live games and replays of every game throughout the NFL season, including Playoffs and the Super Bowls. Watch NFL Network, a 24/7 production, in addition on one of my favorite sports tech inventions ever, NFL RedZone, giving fans like me and you, exclusive live look-ins of all the days touchdowns and game-changing moments from every Sunday afternoon game. Also, catch all-22 coaches, hundreds of hours of archived on-demand shows, popular series, and intriguing specials including the award-winning NFL Films productions A Football Life and Hard Knocks which featured the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp this off-season.
Selected Game Pass Europe features for 2017 include:
• Every NFL game live*, NFL Network, NFL RedZone and hundreds of on-demand shows series and specials such as Hard Knocks and A Football Life;
• New and improved Game in 40 – condensed 40-minute versions of every NFL game – plus coach’s films;
• Integrated data and stats, delivered in sync with live and on-demand video;
• Freedom to use up to 5 different devices simultaneously to access live games and streams (from one network);
• Full DVR – NFL fans can now go back in time at any moment, and re-watch key plays of the game, both during live broadcasts and on-demand;
• Live Interactive timeline on web and mobile, allowing fans to access key moments quickly and easily;
• Redesigned website and mobile app.
* Outside the UK, all 332 games (pre-season, regular season and post-season) are available live and on-demand. In the UK, 298 games are available live, with all 332 available on-demand.
OverTier specialize in the creation, distribution and marketing of OTT sports broadcast platforms. The brand was born as a joint-venture between investment firm Bruin Sports Capital and WPP, the world’s largest communications services group. Insight WPP will collect from Game Pass end-users is unprecedented allowing them the opportunity to data mine viewer habits then putting together personalized marketing campaigns helping to grow the game, increase sponsorship ROI and tweak the offering as needed in the future.
Jones said the WPP agencies machine is made up of the Ogilvy & Mathers creative team, MEC global media agency and Two Circles, data driven sports marketing firm, who together are figuring out the NFL Game Pass audience by using data to help their clients understand European customers.
I originally contacted Carlo De Marchis, Chief Product & Marketing Officer at deltatre about this hot sports technology story via a Facebook message and even though he was on vacation, he kindly introduced me to Sam.
Jones has an extensive work background in sports, music and entertainment. He’s responsible for the growth of NFL Game Pass across 61 global markets and multiple OTT, web, games and mobile platforms.
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with him. He seems well suited for the role and is confident about the daunting task of changing viewer habits while as the same time making Game Pass successful on another continent for the first time outside of North America facing live game time delays, competition for eyeballs and NFL image concerns.
Sports Tech Business Model
“OTT is the future, available now,” according to Jones and I concur, traditional models are not able to match consumer demands. The era of overpriced cable and the bundling of unwanted channels are winding down. Consumers enjoy the freedom, flexibility and cost savings of streaming exactly what they want to watch over the internet to devices as provided by Netflix, Amazon and soon to be Disney, aka ESPN.
OverTier is the newest kid on the block and poised to help the NFL grow across Europe by offering accessibility over the web, mobile, all Apple and Android mobile devices, Google Chromecast, Apple TV and Xbox One. PS4 and Amazon Fire TV apps are scheduled to launch in September.
“NFL Game Pass has become the destination for our avid NFL fans outside the United States who look to connect with the sport they love when, how and where they want,” said Michael Markovich, Vice President of International Media & Business Development for the NFL. “Digital engagement – both streaming and on-demand – is a key connection point for the NFL and our fans and will become increasingly important as we look to grow the NFL fan base in Europe and beyond. We are excited to work with OverTier to take the Game Pass business to the next level.”
I love to watch multiple sports on TV, my iPhone, Galaxy tablet and Lenovo laptop all at the same time. The ability to use Game Pass on up to five streaming devices is perfect for a busy Sunday gameday. Jones feels OverTier is the new sports data center where simultaneous broadcasts across a complex and scalable platform developed to handle the user’s discretion across their proprietary next gen of OTT services.
Integrating third party API and meta data into the platform and syncing NFL livestream content via a data engine that operates like a visual engine, complete with real-time stats, updated scores and information, is what OverTier can offer right now. Down the development road, look for Zebra Technologies RFID chips and Wilson football chip data, Madden 18 crossover and perhaps one day, even sports book odds and the ability to place bets to be part of the robust offering. Jones says in the next 5-years, they will no longer be limited by tech; rather advanced technologies will be the focus on how to reach the fan with exactly what they want, how they want it and where they want it.
Sports Techie, will OverTier fundamentally change the way live sports are watched? With companies like YouTube, Spotify and Hulu already making inroads away from the linear mode of viewing, sports fans are next. He is excited that today, fans using android or iOS together with WIFI can download on HD, or use the low end to download on 4G.
Game Pass delivers DVR type functionality giving viewers control and whether they want the screen to be interactive or not. Jones said, “Subscribers can jump into the live experience.”
Generating revenue for rights holders is the name of the game. Yet, the value to consumers has to be balanced to make OTT a win-win proposition. The premium Game Pass product costs £84.99 or $110.56 U.S. dollars for the lower tier package.
The goal of launching NFL Game Pass Europe is to accelerate the speed of growing the game, increase viewership and optimize the fan experience. The NFL faced an 11% drop in viewership. With a feature filled, OTT-centric subscription offering, a new European audience is being cultivated.
Jones continually emphasized how the NFL is an experience, much like the Super Bowl. Fans love the authenticity which is why ads with be part of the package. Targeting consumers with the right messaging is paramount to the success of this new business model.
Jones commented to the Sports Industry Group, “Bruin and WPP have built an organization that will lead the change in how we watch live sports, informing the future of TV over the next five years. The NFL is an iconic and data driven sport which is perfectly placed to lead all others in the OTT experience for its fans. I’m proud to lead OverTier and the team into a hugely exiting and high growth future.”
Finally, after the first game, Jones reports record sign up to GamePass, a record sign up for the free trail and a record conversation rate of free trail to subscribers. I asked about Russia and he mentioned the growth over the four week of preseason and through the Pats and Chiefs game was good there as it is over the rest of the European marketplace.
OverTier, WPP and deltatre are building the fan base for today and tomorrow, via NFL Game Pass Europe.
Kick off your free trial today: http://on.nfl.com/7vcEHb
See ya later sports techie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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One response to “NFL Game Pass Europe Launches To Change Fan Viewership Habits”
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