How Hungry Are Viewers for Enhanced Sports Streaming?
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Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Now, the entire premise of this discussion is that viewers are hungry for content and experiences that happen outside the games themselves. And I'd just like to go around the room, so to speak, and ask your thoughts on that. Is the premise of our panel correct? Are our viewers that hungry for those sorts of experiences? Pam, can I start with you?
Pamela Duckworth: Sure. I think viewers want anything they can get their teeth into. TV viewers are so used to a screen jam--like we can read all the stats, we can do all that kind of stuff. So, um, we are currently working on a bunch of different technical things that we're going to add to our live sports programming, as well as put into some of our originals. It's been announced in the news already that we're going to do free to play, which is going to be a really fun fan engagement that. I'm going to do some of my originals live so that fans going to ask Gilbert Arenas or Terrell Owens questions as we're shooting. I think you've heard we're going to be introducing a sportsbook in Q4. So that will also have us engaging with fans with some more original programming and stuff like that. So, I think they'll take anything we can create for them.
Kristen Scott: Anecdotally, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it's when live sports shut down, people were grasping for alternative programming that still tangentially relates to sports. So we're creating original programming that has nothing to do with the actual game. It's more about telling the stories, whether it's off the field or whether that's access to the actual players and coaches, whether it's creating a completely made-up vote of who is the best fan base in all of college football, people are fighting over these things and the game actually isn't even happening on TV. So we saw that all of that take off completely and in the past 15 or so months,
Aaron Nagler: That's a great point, as far as like the pandemic kind of driving innovation, just a collective kind of ... "Okay. What do we do now to create programming and create content. Where there's usually over-saturation, all of a sudden there was this opening: "What do we got? What are your ideas?" And for us, it was interesting because we had decided ... Corey, my co-founder, had the idea very early on, once everything got shut down. "Okay. Well, we're initially gonna have watch parties of old games online, where we all gather and talk about them or tweet about them, or what have you." And that extended to when the NFL got back on its feet. And obviously we had a season, whereas in the past we had done a watch party here or there, they became absolutely essential for a lot of our viewers and our regulars in a way that they had not been before.
And it was because of things that had happened prior to that, when things got shut down, all of a sudden there was an extension of community in a way that just hadn't been there before, because we kind of all came together and collectively said, "Okay, what are we going to do every day? Because we all exist online, right? We all exist in this space. And obviously, we're all here talking about sports, and sports go away." I think that was a really--I don't want to say fun time, but it was really a challenging, exciting time as far as saying, "So how do we band together and continue to create content?" And now we're finally opening up and leagues are coming back to somewhat normal. We see fans in the stands. A lot of the innovation that happened when things shut down is somewhat going to stick around. And I think that's pretty exciting.
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