I’m sure that the vast majority of us find ourselves using OTT to access TV and video content on a fairly regular basis, and I’m also sure that there are some people reading this that don’t exactly know what that means. Just so we’re all on the same page, OTT stands for the “over-the-top” and it means that content is delivered to consumers via the internet as opposed to a cable provider. Think Netflix and Hulu, two of the major players in the space.
These OTT providers create a way for consumers to cut the cord from traditional cable providers, all the while giving them the space to watch their favorite shows and movies, as well as original content that is being turned away in rapid fashion. That being said, there is one thing that is seemingly lacking in the OTT space and that is sports content. I’m not talking about the major sports and major sports leagues like the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL who all have their content readily available through the likes of MLB.TV and WatchESPN, and let’s not forget about good old cable television, but the smaller sports that don’t necessarily get the attention that they deserve. This is where FloSports comes into play.
FloSports was born out of an idea by Mark and Martin Floreani and the lack of ability to watch and follow the sports that the two participated in while in college, wrestling and track. Sure, these sports would get some air time here and there, but it wasn’t often and when it was, it was usually at an off time when they channel was looking for content to fill available space. FloSports goal was to give “niche sports”, as the refer to them, a home where participants and spectators alike were easily able to access on demand content on their time, as opposed to hoping there’s an off chance that it might end up on TV somewhere.
Their approach isn’t necessarily out of the box when it comes to providing content, but is most definitely ahead of many others in the sports world, including industry leader ESPN. FloSports had only four sports and a handful of employees back in 2014 and now five years later they have 25 channels featuring 22 different sports and upwards of 200 employees. The company shoots and produces all of their own content for each and every sport, from airing games, matches and races, to creating a plethora of their own content. All of the content is also easy to locate and exists within each specific sport’s own network. Want to watch Alaska take on Alaska Anchorage in men’s hockey (yes, they both have teams) head to Flo Hockey, want to watch “The Trials of Shalane Flanagan”, a documentary on one of the top US female runners, head to FloTrack.
One major benefit to FloTrack is the people that they have on staff. Many of their employees are former college athletes, coaches or professionals in the sports that they feature which allows them to be really authentic with the material that they have available. This isn’t meant to knock traditional production of athletic events on cable or the commentators that they have working on games, but those events are created with a more general fanbase in mind, which has an impact on the content and the that way those events are delivered. Take for example watching a professional hockey game on TV, a majority of the commentators have been around the sport for a long time, some of them even being former players, but the way that they describe the game isn’t always at a high level. Sure, they might say something that only someone with a higher knowledge of the game will truly understand, but that’s usually followed by some sort of simple explanation to ensure that everyone watching is able to follow along with what’s going on. This is an area where FloSports greatly differs. The individuals that they have commentating any given event are experts in that sport and are going to describe the event as such. This is due to the fact that their viewers are avid fans of a particular sport that are seeking out to watch any given event and chances are they at one time competed, coached or know someone who does/did in that specific sport. By doing this, they are able to create a connection with their consumers by providing a person of common knowledge and interest with their designated sport.
Now that the basics of what FloSports is and how it works is out of the way, it’s time to get to the important part: money. What started off as a $10,00 venture that struggled to take off, has now hit the ground running due to the changing landscape of how media is consumed and the help of some big-time investments. The platform makes money through a subscription-based service that charges $20 a month or $150 annually for unlimited access to all of their content, which includes roughly 10,000 live events on an annual basis. Right now, FloSports is adding roughly 30,000 subscribers a month and there’s no sign of this slowing down.
FloSports may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of watching a sporting event or sports related content, but many people do and that number will continue to grow. I’m sure it won’t be any time in the very near future, but don’t be surprised if you see more and more professional sports utilizing the platform…