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FloSports, the leader in the OTT direct-to-consumer space, which live-streams more than 10,000 competitions a year, has inked a deal with the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). It’s a milestone for the company: CAA is its first comprehensive college partner and its seventh collegiate entity with a multisport partnership.
“We’re excited about our multi-year partnership with the CAA, and we want to build the service with them,” says Mark Floreani, co-founder/CEO, FloSports. “We will be working with the schools and conference to see what they want to highlight in year one, as the first year is always the hardest.”
FloSports will provide live and on-demand content and coverage of more than 300 CAA games annually, highlighted by extensive coverage of the conference’s football and basketball programs.
The CAA deal is the latest in a very busy year for FloSports, which has signed 55 deals so far this year (last year, it signed more than 270 deals).
“Our model is to go vertical, as, in the linear world, it is all about going horizontal with the cream-of-the-crop events,” says Floreani. “But, in the direct-to-consumer world, we align our service with fans’ passion for everything from youth to professional sports. If we offer coverage with depth and breadth, they love us and stay on. We have to win them every day.”
He notes that the goal, as with all the partners FloSports works with, will be to find CAA’s pain points and work to remove them. The goals of FloSports partners are often as varied as the 25 sports covered: some want to increase revenue; others want to simply increase exposure.
“It’s a very methodical approach,” notes Floreani. “We make sure we line up what we do to [ensure] it aligns with their goals. We have partner-success managers dedicated to each partner, and they run through the goals of the contract throughout the process.”
FloSports has a production team of about 50 employees, and its goal is to fill in gaps and work with the teams that produce the events to make sure the quality is all it can be for fans.
“You want to have high-quality coverage,” Floreani explains. “We think we can do that at a lower cost because a lot of it is about authenticity in the play-by-play and our shoulder programming. A show produced with three cameras by a team that knows the sport will be better than a five-camera show produced by a team that doesn’t.”
The authenticity aspect is important because FloSports is not about bringing in the casual fan but about meeting and exceeding the needs of the passionate fan. Fans can pay $30 per month, $150 for the year, to access all events across the FloSports network, but many fans focus on a single sport: for example, the 2019 NCAA Track and Field preliminary championships and the 2019 London Marathon on FloTrack.com or the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia and New Zealand on FloHoops.com.
“We have to serve our customers in a one-to-one relationship, which is different from the way it was with linear television,” says Floreani. “We are now in a world where people who need to watch something will pay for it but they also don’t want to pay for something they don’t want to watch.”
By shining a light on underserved sports and athletic programs that have historically struggled in the linear world, FloSports is also driving interest in attending the sports in person. Floreani notes that “Oklahoma State wrestling has found that more and more fans are attending matches since FloWrestling began broadcasting matches to their fans. We help tell their story and there is more engagement for the wrestling team and community.”
FloSports also recently signed a deal with VFT Solutions to improve its anti-piracy and revenue protection efforts. VFT’s technology can instantly identify and document those who pirate content and can also reach out to those pirates in real time.
“We have to protect our rights as we are investing a lot of time, money, and energy into growing the sports through the events, athletes and fans,” Floreani explains. “If rights aren’t protected, they aren’t valuable. The rightsholders can’t invest in sports, and then the athletes can’t get paid. The sport falls apart.”