Innovative & Easy-To-Use Platform Allows Any User to Create Professional-Level Live Sports Broadcast
SportsCastr Live is in beta testing mode until September yet launched their new customizable video platform this week designed for all digital devices to enable professional looking streamed video broadcasts over an iOS app, laptop or desktop computer. The innovative sports tech product allows users and viewers to interact through an enhanced second screen experience and via social media channels. SportsCastr CEO Kevin April chatted with The Sports Techie community blog about their proprietary technology, the company business plan and the compelling news that a founding investor is the ‘Godfather’ of New York and former NBA Commissioner, David Stern. The other notable savvy executive investors and successful sporting figure advisers together with Stern aim to help April distribute the existing status quo. I am also sharing the news that @THESportsTechie at @SportsTechieNET will be part of an ongoing SportsCastr program with other influencers that broadcast about and during live sport events in addition to talking about trending topics. In our case, I will be streaming various sports tech and Atlanta focused content regarding the Hawks, Braves, Atlanta United FC, and the Falcons, and chat about the cities new stadiums, SunTrust Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The idea is to showcase SportsCastr technologies that truly make production seem as if it is coming from a studio quality feed as a premium fan engagement and social connection opportunity.
SportsCastr Feature Set
What sets SportsCastr apart from the media companies that dominate the industry like ESPN, Fox Sports, NBCSN, and CBS Sports, is the unique ability for a user to act as a color commentator in a studio like setting. Competition comes from established video platforms the likes of Facebook Live, Periscope, Twitch, and YouTube.
Viewers have the option to select the sportscaster they wish to have comment, recall or predict what is happening in a game or live broadcast about anything sports related.
The feature sets are difference makers when compared to other formats. The studio dynamics that SportsCastr Live provides has robust offerings like play-by-play, graphic overlays, real-time scoreboards or “scorebug” as April said, powered by STATS, and soon to be released augmented reality tech all with the click of a button. The picture-in-picture photos and videos related to content you care about are additional options created to appeal across demographics of all ages.
When you select a live game a scorebug pops up on your screen viewable by each connected person. The graphic overlays that appear on screen have the feel of a Snapchat layer. Adding the add ons to on-air recordings gives the broadcast the look and feel of a SportsCenter or college football pre-game, during game and post-game show.
I conducted my first live broadcast last Wednesday when the launch announcement was released.
🔴 Watch Robert Roble’s live stream “Sports Techie Live on SportsCastr” https://scln.tv/666v #SportsCastr.
The custom solution is intuitive and easy to use. I had the option to choice a live game, pick a news report or simply comment on any sports topic I wanted to talk about all from a drop down menu. These discussions can be shared across Twitter and Facebook or by an email for now. The location you are broadcasting from can be also added by simply sliding the button from off to on.
Following his own live media event held on SportsCastr.Live to discuss re-signing with the NFL team from Washington, Vernon Davis said: “This platform is a real game-changer, and I’m so excited to be involved. I love it already, and it’s only going to get better.”
Whether you attend a match as a Soccer Mom or Dad, or are in the audience at a live NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, CFB, CBB, EPL or WNBA game, or are watching on HDTV in your own home, this promises to be a game changing sports technology for your tribe to enjoy.
Now no matter where you are located, SportsCastr is your personalized digital companion for distributing video content to your community, family and friends as if you are actually on TV. April’s vision is fully interactive and immersive because of the various clicks on the screen and the social media commentary opportunities.
SportsCastr.Live is driven by an adaptive bit-rate technology component that is optimized for speedy delivery over Wi-Fi. Video is hosted on their own servers and on AWS.
Once the updated September roll out arrives, broadcasters will have the ability to market worldwide to the SportsCastr fandom. Each fan will be able to access subject matter they like and discover personalities they wish to engage with in the Fall. Sign up for channel notification to ensure you are alerted to new posts.
DAVID STERN, JIM BOEHEIM, VERNON DAVIS & OTHERS TEAM UP TO LAUNCH SPORTSCASTR.LIVE VIDEO PLATFORM FOR SPORTS
Besides Stern who is currently invested in six sports tech company and loves to operate in stealth mode behind the scenes, April added investors Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University Head Basketball Coach; Donald Schupak, former Managing Partner of the Spirits of St. Louis in the old ABA; Vernon Davis, two-time NFL Pro Bowler and the team from Washington D.C. tight end; Andrew Schupak, SGI MB CEO; and Eric Bechtel, IdeaQuest Founder to the advisory team. On paper these advisers and investors are of the highest quality. They correspond with April on a near daily basis.
The New York-based company recently completed an undisclosed funding round led by SGI MB.
“When it comes to game broadcasts, fans want what they want, on whatever device they want, whenever they want it.’ Now, SportsCastr.Live adds a whole new dimension by giving viewers another choice: announced by whomever they want…even if it is themselves,” said Stern. “This platform will redefine what it means to ‘call a game.’ Think about it: you can stream the game, watch it in VR, get real-time stats and info, etc. Now you can choose your broadcaster and that person has access to all the bells and whistles necessary to deliver a ‘network quality’ broadcast.”
What’s wild to comprehend is how Schupak and Stern came full circle with this new sports video related deal. Both were at the forefront of the financial impact video had on the NBA’s business development back in the late 70’s.
Schupak is well know as the attorney for the St. Louis Spirits owners of the old ABA. He advised the owners to not accept a $3 million deal with the NBA to fold the franchise and instead forged a deal when the merger happened in 1976 that focused on future NBA TV rights resulting in earning the ownership at least $1 billion dollars in profit if not more.
I saw was at a Starbucks business forum in Seattle around 2002 led by owner Howard Schulz, my favorite player Magic Johnson and Stern. I was able to ask Stern about how the Internet was going to affect the NBA going foward. He stole the floor and discussed with tremendous passion the influence cable TV had on the the success of the NBA business model in the U.S. and it’s parallel to what the web meant to the league in terms of worldwide distribution and branding.
For the record, Stern is also the commish that allowed the hijacking of the Seattle Supersonics to OKC.
Each man foresaw TV as a significant revenue stream. Both now 74 years old are betting on SportsCastr live video as another potential legacy deal.
Several patent pending technologies are awaiting approval so April was very tight lipped about what they have planned in terms of business development, partnerships and financial forecasts. There have been some discussions with the likes of ESPN and others but that is all he had to say about it for now. The exit strategy in place is a mindset that is a “marathon not a sprint,” according to April.
I queried April as to the market size outside of the United States because it has so many more potential users and eyeballs. Say in China for example where Stern initiated grassroots programs across the country decades ago laying the groundwork for the modern day success the NBA is having in the world’s most populous country. I learned about these programs firsthand as an official blogger at the 2012 Global Sports Forum Barcelona from Mark Tatum, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s right hand man.
April echoed my thoughts about how large an opportunity the International markets are outside America and our big 4 sports consisting of the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, or big 6 if you add in college football and basketball. The rest of the globe loves to watch many other major and minor sporting events like cricket, rugby, MMA, surfing, and an up and coming giant, Esports. He said the NFL ranks tenth in worldwide consumption to give you an idea how the rest of the world looks at the American sports behemoth. The NFL Draft in Philadelphia next week is sure to get fresh coverage from SportsCastr Live users so tune in.
Right now their monetization strategy is a tightly held secret but I can share that they are looking to execute exciting new concepts while not reinventing the wheel at the same time. Current plans are to introduce original revenue generating ideas while capitalizing on existing business ideas other like-minded businesses are making money doing. If Facebook can do it to SnapChat nearly every week it appears any company can copy a business model that is not patented especially if they perform better than the originating company. Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and YouNow are setting standards making it easy for the SportsCastr management team to pick and choice what programs may work best across their own video streaming platform.
I asked Kevin what future plans they have regarding the new iPhone 8 while their Android app is under development. This was a hot button topic as he eagerly discussed the anticipation of waiting for Apple to release the newest smartphone feature sets which will enable his programmers to utilize the new camera for optimal filming and photo sessions along with other functionalities.
April wanted to emphasize the work his staff has already done so far on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. They do not currently have a YouTube channel and are debating if and when they need one.
I wanted to know what the sweet spot is in terms of both user base and viewers. He replied that the multiple choices that exist right now across television, mobile and OTT makes it a good time to focus on live streaming sports. But what’s missing is the focus on the fan commentary angle. He feels, “the camera is pointed in the wrong way.” With Sportscastr, sports are more fun with social and they fill this need with their service as no platform currently does. He believes fans need the option to select who to watch games with. All current broadcasts have a broadcaster that is forced upon the viewer. With SportsCastr, you can can always choose your own broadcaster of choice.
They plan to target sports fans that demand choices while offering customization and personalization in ways that brings people together and bridges the gaps between age groups.
April mentioned that the app is already being used in ways they did not anticipate like during a softball practice.
Finally, the fact is broadcasting live professional sports games or the Olympics is often illegal so I wanted to know how SportsCastr was going to deal with this sensitive rights issue. I asked April what his and Stern’s (lawyer) perspective was on this legal matter. The answer is complicated. Fans are already sharing live video moments from sports events on SnapChat, YouTube and Facebook. Stern emphasizes that the league benefits by the social media mentions and shares. Teams and leagues are aware of the data and numbers that lend to supporting this viewpoint. Furthermore, since platforms already exists and SportsCatsr was built form the ground up, it makes sense for the leagues, federations, associations and franchises to welcome the additional social activity especially from younger generations like millennials and GenZ.
The application is available for free on the iTunes App Store. Users can also access the platform via the web at https://sportscastr.live/
Sports Techie, Kevin was once part of the an online community of Atari video game players in Montreal, Canada. We have chatted before about his former startup, SportsBlog.
Kevin is a real and honest grinder. He works 70 hours a week yet has no feelings of burning out as it is truly a labor of love.
He said there is, “no better place to be than Manhattan.” One reason is because Stern is right down the street at Greycroft Partners.
Kevin has SportsCastr related business in Atlanta that brings him to town monthly. He wants to meet with me in person so look for that exchange to be streamed on THE Sports Techie Live SportsCastr channel.
Until September, the broadcaster with the most Sportscastr views per month wins $500. I have no chance this month but come May, look out SportsCastr because THE Sports Techie Live is going to set your platform on digital fire.
🔴 Watch Robert Roble’s live stream “THE Sports Techie Blog About SportsCastr Live” https://scln.tv/6cye #SportsCastr
Watching a streaming video recorded in the past, live or in the future will never be the same because SportsCastr is delivering professional looking streams for free and that my friends, is the real deal.
See ya later sports techie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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Watch Robert Roble’s live stream “THE Sports Techie Blog About SportsCastr Live” https://scln.tv/6cye #SportsCastr