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What is the Real Value of Sports Archive Content?

Luke Gaydon

Business Development Sports

November 2, 2020


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The sudden stop to live sports due to Covid-19 restrictions certainly caused a challenge for rights-holders across the globe. In the months of no sporting action, many content distributors were quick to delve into their archives in an attempt to keep fans happy and engaged. As we are slowly beginning to return to live events and tournaments, does sport archive content still have value in a world beyond lockdowns and restrictions? The answer might be yes, but the key to maximizing that potential lies in how you use said archive in a way that fits naturally with your wider content strategy. Here are a few examples of how rights holders can create long-term value by leveraging their archive.

Present archived material as a new content package

Sports fans are exceedingly loyal; both to the sports they love and the teams they support. This means that many are keen to get their hands on additional content wherever possible and tapping into archive material can be a great way to provide these enthusiasts with extra value. As well as delivering classic (and not-so-classic) full-length matches or tournaments, what about creating content packages targeted at different fan profiles - such as highlights from a certain club or athlete or different types of moment, e.g. free kicks, missed putts, etc.

As AI technology continues to improve its support for sports-specific use-cases, it should also be possible to automate a lot of the content package creation process. Looking ahead, AI can also be used to extract deeper audience insights whereby content can be grouped around predefined criteria, ensuring that the right content packages are pushed in front of the most enthusiastic audience.

Apply AR functionalities to encourage engagement

AR has long been a hot topic for sports content owners and has massive potential for further enhancing viewer engagement. Imagine watching your favorite moments, such as a goal scored or tournament won, but replayed in a fully interactive augmented experience. Rights holders could also use this technology to create value-add content, such as interactive quizzes relating to the archive content or a chat function for viewers to discuss what’s seen on screen.

Celebrate tournament anniversaries and other milestones

Sport is full of milestones, from retiring athletes to tournament anniversaries. Every time the Football World Cup comes around, I start searching for archive clips of the last time England won a penalty shootout. There aren’t that many. There are a huge variety of moments to celebrate - tournaments won, first-ever cap, the last game played, and more. Again, this is an area where AI could be extremely valuable, enabling the automatic extraction of specific moments from a particular event, or relating to a club or athlete. This is already a compelling offering for sponsors whose brands benefit from association with well-known milestones and much-loved athletes.

Integrate archived material across web and social channels

Today’s rights holders have more ways to interact with sports fans than ever before. Using archived content is a great way to keep viewers engaged across multiple platforms, including websites and social media. Posting pivotal moments from the archives on relevant social channels is often met with a high degree of excitement from fans, especially around key milestones. Archive content is a great way to maintain the dialogue with fans between live matches, helping to ensure they stay leaned-in and engaged.

Deliver searchable, curatable content to fans

Oftentimes, fans prefer to search for content themselves, ultimately creating their own collections of archive snapshots. It is essential to provide these users with an easily accessible content library so that they can quickly and seamlessly find the moments that appeal to them the most. Whether it’s Ian Bell’s cover drives, Didier Drogba’s goals, or Jonny Wilkinson’s tackles, creating your own personal collection of favorite archive moments is time well-spent! An AI-powered face recognition capability is a newer way of efficiently (and cost-effectively) categorizing content to provide easily discoverable archive that is available to fans at the click of a button.

Is the future of sports in the archive?

Live is the life-blood of sport. But this year, in particular, has highlighted the importance of archive content. Savvy sports rights holders will look to package their archives in a way that is attractive and compelling to both fans and sponsors. Increasingly supported by AI technology, they will deliver winning services that curate their archive content in a way that appeals to a variety of different audiences, new and old

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