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The Digital Revolution Affecting Live Football

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

We live in a world now where when you look for entertainment, there isn’t a digital platform out there in which cannot provide it. Whether it’s a new music video on YouTube, the latest episode of EastEnders or a major announcement from our Prime Minister – you can view it whenever, wherever!

It has recently been revealed that Britons have spent an incredible 3.3 billion on digital

entertainment, in this half of 2019 alone! The rise and popularity of digital video streaming is unquestionably reaching new heights each year, and with Disney set to introduce their new streaming platform, it looks like it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

For those of us who love sports, providers such as Sky and BT allow their customers to not only watch live Premier League games or other sports on their channels, but with an account as a paying customer you can also watch matches or highlights through your phone, laptop or tablet.

Prior to the beginning of the 2019/20 season, Sky announced that fans would be able to watch highlights of all Premier League games (more notably, 3pm kick offs) on their Sky Football YouTube channel straight after the final whistles. This has left many fans questioning why they are paying for coverage, when it is seemingly being broadcast to millions for free. The continuing digital revolution has also threatened to decrease the viewing numbers for fan favourite Saturday night’s: Match of the Day.

Match of The Day, which has been providing highlights and live games for fans since its first show in 1964, regularly attracts audiences of over 7 million – including BBC iPlayer viewings. Considering the accessibility to football highlights on YouTube, will this affect the demand to watch live football?

However, it is very convenient for those who may not wish to subscribe to sports channels – due to growing concerns over pricing for certain packages.

For the current 2019/20 campaign, the Premier League has stepped up its efforts to adapt to digital innovation by introducing VAR (Video Assistant Referee) which has been introduced to help the match referee with decision making with incidents they may have missed in real time; such as a foul or offside decisions. Since it’s introduction, VAR has divided opinion due to the start-stop nature it provides during matches. One thing is for sure: Digital Innovation is making it’s way in sport.


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