NBC Sports: Super Bowl, Soccer, Winter Olympics Drove Record 2018 Digital Streaming Year

On the strength of live streaming three of the biggest sporting events in the world — Super Bowl LII, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and Spanish-language coverage of the FIFA World Cup  — NBC Sports Digital delivered its best year ever in 2018.

The year is highlighted by 6.5 billion minutes of consumption for more than 90,000 hours of streaming coverage across more than 30,000 events. The year also set new streaming records for “Sunday Night Football,” the Stanley Cup Final, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Premier League, Notre Dame Football, the Triple Crown, and the NASCAR Cup Series, as well as regional streaming records for MLB, NBA, and NHL.

In 2018, NBC Sports Digital also grew Playmaker Media, its technology backend service, by adding NBC News, Formula One, and NESN as clients. It also added six sports passes to NBC Sports Gold, expanding its direct-to-consumer streaming service to 14 sports.

Fueled by NBC Sports’ digital coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LII, NBCSports.com and Yahoo.com set a new sports category record in February with 93 million unique visitors. This marks the most unique visits since August 2016 when comScore’s sports category record was set on the strength of the 2016 Rio Olympics (110 Million).

“Sunday Night Football” achieved its most-streamed season to date. Through 17 games, SNF live streaming has already delivered 11.8 million unique viewers and 1.2 billion minutes, up 76% and 72%, respectively, over last season.

The 2017-18 NHL season (194 games) set digital streaming records in all key metrics delivering a record 4.7 million unique viewers and 753 million minutes, up 80% and 15%, respectively, over the previous season.

Justify’s Triple Crown horse racing victory set streaming records in all key metrics, delivering 653,000 unique viewers and 21 million minutes, up 26% and 125%, respectively, vs. American Pharoah’s Triple Crown in 2015, making it the most-streamed Triple Crown in history.

Live streaming of the 2018 Notre Dame Football season totaled 768,000 unique viewers and 53.4 million minutes, up 52% and 54%, respectively, over 2017, the most for a Notre Dame Football season on record.

Across NBC Sports digital platforms, NASCAR saw its best season ever, finishing with 1.2 million unique viewers and 151 million minutes, up 11% and 14%, respectively, over 2017.

Golf Channel had its best year ever for live streaming, short-form video, monthly unique viewers, and page views – which crossed the one billion page views annual mark for the first time ever. In total, Golf Channel’s digital properties delivered a record 4.5 million unique viewers and 645 million live minutes, up 62% and 60%, respectively, over 2017.

The 2017-18 Premier League Season (230 matches) set records with four million unique viewers, up 35% from the previous season. In calendar 2018, the Premier League earned three of its Top 8 most-streamed matches ever.

Through November, the year was already the most-streamed year in NBC Sports Regional Network history, with 579 million minutes across more than 1,500 MLB, NBA, and NHL games.

Super Bowl LII was the most live-streamed Super Bowl ever and the most-streamed single-game ever among all sports. Fans live streamed 633.7 million minutes of Super Bowl Sunday coverage across 6.1 million unique devices, up 185% and 112%, respectively, from NBC Sports’ last Super Bowl live stream in February 2015.

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics delivered 1.86 billion live minutes and was consumed across 32.8 million unique devices. It supported an Average Minute Audience of 211,000 viewers for the primetime presentation of the Games across 10 different platforms. The PyeongChang Winter Olympics delivered more than four times the live minutes of the Sochi Games (420 million minutes).

Telemundo’s Spanish-language live streaming coverage of the FIFA World Cup delivered 1.96 billion minutes and reached 15.5 million unique viewers, generating a record-setting 130 million live streams.

YouTube TV Offers Free Week Service After World Cup Soccer Glitch

If you were a British soccer fan July 11 watching on YouTube TV the Three Lions play Croatia in the semi-finals at the Russia 2018 World Cup, the 2-1 overtime loss was only part of the problem.

YouTube TV subscribers suffered through an unexplained service outage during the pivotal match that could have seen England return to the World Cup final for the first time since 1966.

Now Google-owned YouTube is offering subs an apology and a free week of service for the interruption.

“We’re really sorry for the recent YouTube TV outage during the FIFA World Cup semifinal,” the service tweeted. “To help make this right, we’d like to give you a week of free service.”

Launched in early 2017 for $35 monthly fee and available in 83 markets, YouTube joined Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, Philo TV, Fubo TV and Spectrum TV Plus in the burgeoning online TV market that offers live and recorded streaming access to pay-TV without long-term contract.

England plays Belgium for third place July 14, in a match that can also be streamed on Fubo TV, the upstart service financially backed by 21st Century Fox, which is broadcasting the World Cup in the United States.

 

Fox Partners with Snapchat, Twitter for World Cup Soccer

Seeking to further embed social media with live sports, Fox Sports is working with Twitter and Snapchat for this summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Twitter will showcase every goal scored from all 64 matches seconds after they occur. Snapchat will produce “Our Stories” video segments featuring behind-the-scenes video from the quadrennial competition taking place June 14 – July 15.

Fos, which paid a reported $400 million for the U.S. broadcast/streaming rights to the World Cup, will produce a daily live show with host Rachel Bonnetta (@rachelbonnetta), streaming on Twitter from Moscow’s Red Square.

Featured guests include Fox Sports’ 2018 FIFA World Cup on-air hots Rob Stone (@RobStoneONFOX), Landon Donovan (@landondonovan), Kate Abdo (@kate_abdo), Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas), and Fernando Fiore (@FernandoFiore), among others.

“We’ll immerse fans in the ‘beautiful game’ even further through expert analysis and fun, creative content from Moscow,” Alexis Ginas, SVP of cross-platform solutions, Fox Sports, said in a statement.

Snapchat, which is creating original content for A+E Networks, Discovery, ESPN, NBC Universal and Turner, seeks to replicate exclusive content with “Publisher Story” showcasing the daily “drama” from the international event.

“What makes the tournament so exciting for us is that we are going to be able to deliver our community a perspective of the global game that brings them not only into the roaring stadiums in Russia, but also to those celebrating in cities around the world,” said Ben Schwerin, VP of partnerships at Snap Inc.

While soccer remains the world’s most popular sport, World Cup interest among casual viewers in the United States remains to be seen considering Team USA is not participating for the first time since 1986.