The coronavirus pandemic has not put a stop to FloSports’ aggressive media rights acquisition strategy in 2020. Plans remain largely unaltered for the remainder of the year as rights holders await the return of live sports.
The OTT service provider on April 16 acquired the distribution rights to NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference football games until the end of the 2023 season. FloSports will also livestream the conference’s championship tournaments for basketball and softball, among other team sports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
But there is even more coming on the acquisitions front, Phil Wendler, senior vice president of global rights acquisition at FloSports, said. FloSports will announce at least three more deals to add to its OTT channel lineup in the coming weeks, including a motorsports addition and another conference contract.
“We’re not out there trying to compete with the big players for top-tier level rights,” Wendler said. “But beneath that, we see a lot of underserved sports communities. The GSC will perform just as well as the Colonial Athletic Conference did for us last season and serve fans that have not had a true OTT media partner in the past.”
FloSports has continued to ramp up its number of media deals over the past two years. More than 250 contracts were signed in 2019, ranging from single events and tournaments to professional sports leagues and college conference rights.
All decisions are based on viewer consumption data on FloSports’ platform, Wendler said. The OTT service is coming off a record year in 2019, where subscriptions grew 100% year-over-year, and live-streamed events increased 70%.
Based on viewership trends during the coronavirus pandemic, FloSports is looking to acquire more motorsports rights in 2020 as well as virtual cycling. The company partnered with indoor cycling gamification app Zwift to rebroadcast the 2019 Milano-San Remo race on its FloBikes OTT channel last month via a virtual watch and ride party.
“We feel like our game plan works. We continued to see strong numbers in the first two months of the year,” Wendler said. “We just got a little bit of a timeout, if you will, to ride out and keep everybody safe until it’s safe to go back to work.”
FloSports, founded in 2006, currently has more than 300,000 active users. The company’s OTT verticals include wrestling, track & field, rugby, and several other competitions spanning professional, collegiate, and high school sports.
“We want to be smart about how we go about buying rights. This situation reinforces that in a big way,” Wendler said. “We’re a full-service partner producing content and marketing for properties. We look at the big picture from a budget perspective versus what we believe we can generate in return.”