Sportsnet.ca Delivers Premier League via Adobe Flash

Canadians will have the opportunity to get their kicks from Barclays Premier League soccer courtesy of a variety of online subscription plans from Sportsnet.ca to be offered this season. “There is a healthy relationship developing [between TV coverage and other mediums],” says Corbin Andrews, Sportsnet.ca director/general manager. “If the fans can’t access a TV, then they can watch the matches online or on an iPhone app that we will offer next month.”

The large amount of live streaming online, more than 300 matches, is the latest example of the shrinking perception that offering online streaming seriously impacts the number of TV viewers.

“There was that perception a couple of years ago, but it has turned out to be the opposite,” says Andrews. He says sports fans are increasingly consuming sports on multiple devices at the same time, creating new opportunities for branding, advertising, and staying connected with fans.

“With hockey, for example, our viewers ‘want it now,’ and there is a sense of frustration if they can’t get it now,” he says. “And, in Canada, we have a very diverse population so there are pocket-sized audiences for sports like rugby and cricket that can be offered streams.”

The feeds will be delivered in the Adobe Flash format with transcoding and delivery handled by Perform, a UK company with offices in New York City that specializes in delivering sports content via the Internet and mobile devices.

The popularity of Premier League soccer continues to grow in Canada, and Andrews says it is more popular than the NFL in a lot of places. Subscription packages will be $179 Canadian for all 300 matches or $15.99 Canadian per month.

“Rights fees continue to factor in digital licensing, and the delivery technology is getting cheaper,” adds Andrews. “And now we are seeing a lot more user-generated content around events. Fans are even developing their own apps.”

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