Streaming services give increased visibility for women's college sports teams
The GIST: Streamers are acing college sports. An uptick in school-specific streaming services is translating into big wins for athletic departments and increased visibility for women’s sports teams, per a recent report.
The details: Over the last two years, multimedia company Sport & Story built streamers with five schools — University of Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State and South Carolina. The platforms offer exclusive access to student-athletes, from interviews to behind-the-scenes looks at teams.
The numbers: The five streamers jointly acquired more than 365K subscribers in the last 17 months, broadening the schools’ reach in the process. Take Arkansas’ Hogs+ for example — about 68% of subscribers live 100-plus miles away from the school and a majority have never donated to the athletic department.
- Athletes are feeling the love, too. A Hogs+ segment with softball player K. B. Sides earned 62K views and 350K social impressions and soon after, the team played in front of nine sold-out crowds and booked an agreement with a local Buick dealer.
- The same is true in the Sooner State. After Oklahoma State launched OSU Max in December 2021, its women’s soccer team broke its average season attendance record and the women’s basketball team’s ticket revenue rose. Slam dunk.
The impact: Arkansas women’s basketball head coach Mike Neighbors said that players are also benefiting from more recognition: “I’ll be out with our players and fans will say, ‘Hey, there’s that girl from Oklahoma. They don’t say what number she is or how she plays, they talk about their stuff that was only on Hogs+.”
- The on-campus fame is foundational to the streamer’s financial impact — Neighbors noted that attendance is up for his team, and local businesses are increasingly interested in partnering with the players.
Zooming out: As we mentioned in our first Sports Biz Breakfast, regular exposure is paramount to building women’s sports fanbases. Where that screen time comes from is contentious, but these colleges are strengthening the argument that streamers — not TV — are the best bet to cultivate an audience. Don’t forget to like and subscribe.