Mobile replays vs. streaming

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We founded YinzCam on the premise that mobile live streaming of different camera angles of a game was what we needed to support. In-venue mobile live streaming essentially means that the fan can watch the continuous live video footage of the game (typically, from a unique camera angle, such as a goalie-cam in hockey or an end-zone cam in football), on their smartphones, while in their seats at the game. Indeed, I thought that’s what I wanted for myself, too, as a fan going to the game.

Over the past 5 years of our various deployments at different stadiums around the country, we’ve come to learn that replays (on-demand, short-form video clips of a key play, typically only 5-10 seconds long) are really what matter. And, in hindsight, looking at fan behavior, it seems fairly intuitive why replays are of more interest than live streaming.

1. The primary product (the team, the sport) is out there on the court or the field. There is absolutely no substitute for watching the game live. In fact, if a fan is glued to their mobile device, watching the live footage of the game, while sitting in their seat at the game, that fan is better off watching the game at home. In fact, the team has already lost that fan’s attention at the turnstile.

2. Most fans want to catch that exciting piece of action, that spectacular interception, that buzzer-beater, the game-changing play, over and over and over and over again. I certainly do. I can’t get enough of it. I am still in awe every time I see a spectacular, game-changing play (think of Richard Sherman’s Immaculate Deflection at the 2014 NFC Championships). I want to see it in slow-motion, I want to see it from every angle.  Again and again. I want to make sure that I did not miss the beauty of it. And every time I watch it again, I get goosebumps doing so. After all, that’s what the sport is about–amazing “Wow, did you see that?” and “How did he pull THAT off?” feats of superhuman, unbelievable skill juxtaposed with a player being in the right place at the right time to make the right move that changes the momentum of the game.

I’ve come to believe that what we should offer to fans inside stadiums and arenas is the opportunity to relive replays, on-demand (as in, whenever they choose), from any camera angle, along with the caption describing that play.

At YinzCam, we have more recently chosen to focus on making on-demand replays the greatest that they can be. We have chosen to improve their quality, their speed, their variety, their associated visualizations, and their description. On the live-streaming side, we’ve focused our attention on providing premium content, such as the NFL RedZone channel (which, come to think of it, is nothing more than a live compilation of scoring replays across all NFL clubs) to fans at their seats inside NFL stadiums.

Yes, we do have/support the live-streaming technology to support a fan using a smartphone to watch a live camera angle of the game unfolding simultaneously on the court/field in front of him/her. Yes, we originally founded our company on the premise of live streaming. The question is whether it makes a whole lot of sense, given what fans want and what fans do at the game. 

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