Sports can have a tremendously positive emotional impact on us. I was raised as an avid fan of Villanova University's basketball team. I have a personal connection to the team as I grew up around the campus in Pennsylvania and even attended a summer camp run by the players and coaches. It was the 2016 March Madness Championship, and Villanova was caught in a tight game with North Carolina. The score was even with seconds to go, and my four younger brothers and I stood together as Villanova Point Guard Ryan Arcidiacono raced up the floor as the clock ticked down. He pitched the ball behind him to Kris Jenkins, who hit a three-pointer at the Buzzer to win Villanova’s first championship in over 30 years. My house erupted, and pandemonium ensued as my brothers jumped for joy, tackled each other, and I may have even shed a tear or two. It was a moment that will always be a cornerstone of my childhood. Although not this exact sports moment, many can recall very similar personal stories. It is mystifying how much time and energy is invested into watching entire sports games, and yet it is sometimes only the memory of a highlight, a couple of seconds, that stick with us.
To capture the value in these moments that enchant consumers, a new player in the already competitive sports streaming industry has arrived. Buzzer, founded by Bo Han, the former director of live content at Twitter, was created based on the new reality of sports media as it shifts from television to social media. As Mr. Han recently stated to the WSJ, “Once the game is over, it’s just a clip on Twitter, and that's a commoditized product.” TV viewership in all major sports is rapidly decreasing. According to data compiled by Sports Media, regarding viewership in this year alone, “... golf’s U.S. Open was down 42 percent. The Kentucky Derby: 43 percent. The Stanley Cup finals: 61 percent. MLB’s division series were down 40 percent.” This shift is especially apparent among the younger audience, a demographic which Buzzer aims to target. According to a recent study from Variety, 48% of NFL, 54% of NBA, and 58% of MLB fans between the ages of 18 and 34 say they prefer watching highlights of their favorite sports over the entire game. As Han explained to the WSJ, “We want to make sure that we’re giving access to Gen Z and younger millennial audiences, creating alternative formats that are already in line with their evolving consumption habits.” This reliance on social media is not merely a passive fad but has resulted in leagues beginning to include highlight rights in their deals with media companies such as Warner Media’s wildly popular Instagram account, @houseofhighlights.
To capture their share of this growing market, Buzzer has developed a seemingly promising strategy that has enabled them to recently secure streaming rights with the NHL and PGA Tour. The app aims to hook a consumer’s attention by allowing viewers to have “live look-ins” — short clips of live game action, for just 99 cents apiece. Additionally, Buzzer executives also plan to send alerts for noteworthy sports moments such as a close game in the final two minutes. Mr. Han added that Buzzer would aim to reach viewers who don’t have or can’t afford to purchase traditional cable television, enabling them to expand the limits of sports media. Although Buzzer is a competitor to conventional Cable TV, ironically, they are also looking to partner with them. Aside from providing live clips, Buzzer provides links to streaming services that offer the whole game. In exchange for this, Buzzer collects a referral fee from the streaming services, thus resulting in a robust business model that allows Buzzer to leverage its own competitors. Additionally, Buzzer has also announced that it plans to integrate its app with sportsbooks and other betting apps. Buzzer attempts to latch the rapidly growing sports gambling industry, which according to Statista, has reached a market size of $203 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow by $134.06 billion during 2020-2024, progressing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 10% during the forecast period.
By providing fans with the most captivating moments at just a click away and for less than a dollar, Buzzer has developed a business model tailored to today’s sports fans by granting them the ability to access immediate excitement. Through this, Buzzer has positioned itself to become a significant player within the world of sports streaming.
Photo Caption: The intersection of Gen Z and the sports world has primed Buzzer to disrupt the sports market deeply seated in tradition.
Photo Credit: Pixabay