Streaming College Sports
Sports are increasingly part of the streaming landscape, and college sports fans may be used to streaming their favorite teams on platforms like Peacock (CMCSA) or ESPN+ (DIS). But what if your favorite college sports program had its own streaming service? Would you tune in?
This hypothetical scenario could soon become reality. The University of Arkansas launched such a service in September 2021, Hogs+, designed to enhance the fan experience by offering a new level of insight into the school’s various sports programs. It offers interviews with athletes, game film breakdowns, and behind-the-scenes looks at the team.
In little more than a year, Hogs+ is already a hit, particularly among one hard-to-reach demographic.
The University of Arkansas found that Hogs+ primarily attracted out-of-state alumni and fans. Roughly 68% of Hogs+ subscribers live more than 100 miles away from campus.
These statistics also suggest the market for college sports might be bigger than schools think. Sports such as football and basketball command national interest at the college level, and thus are fairly easy to find on cable or online, even outside of local markets. Meanwhile, plenty of subscribers also showed interest in streaming other sports like volleyball or gymnastics, in which case a school-specific streamer, such as Hogs+, might be their only opportunity to view them.
Which Colleges Can You Stream?
Following the launch of Hogs+, schools like Louisiana State, South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Maryland launched their own streaming platforms. If these early adopters are similarly successful, more may follow suit.
A Hogs+ subscription costs $7.99 a month. But, unlike major streamers who have recently prioritized revenue over growth, some of these universities witnessed a bigger perk than profit. Both Arkansas and Oklahoma State, which launched OSU Max at the tail end of 2021, witnessed increased game attendance, fan engagement, and endorsement deals for players after their streaming services went live.
Oklahoma State’s athletic director attributed this to the “storytelling” potential of streaming, which “gives fans the ability to know the people and individuals” on their favorite teams, rather than just seeing jersey numbers on a field. These schools are not simply investing in a platform or a program, but in a community.
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