Watching live games is not an easy task for many people. Whether it’s a soccer game, an MLB match or an NBA game, all of them require concentration and also take a lot of time – which people don’t always have.
Therefore, watching just the best moments of a game seems to be the best way for fans to keep up with their favorite sports, competitions, teams, players, or even rival clubs. But how do they watch highlights today? Let’s take a look.
Highlights have existed for decades, from the days when TV ruled to the modern, streaming era that brings the most crucial moments of all kinds of games to people from all over the world. Nowadays, they are even more popular.
Years ago, TV shows would replay the highlights of the weekend for those who wanted to see with their own eyes what happened in that Matchweek. Now, users decide when, how, and which highlights they’re interested in. The only thing they need to is to have access to Internet, and from then on, they can look for the highlights they want in their mobile device, desktop or computer.
Nearly 75 million viewers consume online sports highlights in the U.S, according to data from RingDigital and Levels Beyond. On the other hand, the number of live sports consumers has decreased in recent years. In 2019, over 150 million people in the US watched live sports at least once per month, according to PlayToday.co. In 2021, however, only 57.5 million users in the United States watched digital live sports at least once per month, according to Statista.
Young people, an audience that is used to the fast pace of Internet and social media, often prefer highlights than watching an entire live game. While the latter could take at least two hours per game, highlights allow them to watch in just a few minutes the best actions of multiple games.
In a survey in which 35 respondents were consulted, 37.1% said to watch only one or two live soccer games per month, while 22.9% don’t watch any live soccer games at all. However, 48.6% people watch five or more soccer highlights videos per week, 22.9% watch at least three or four, 20% only one or two, but only 8.6% don’t even watch highlights.
Still, people who consume highlights will probably have experienced that it is not that easy as it seems. Highlights are sometimes difficult to find, and in some cases (depending on the area), they cannot be reproduced. There are multiple ways to look for highlights, but the results are not always satisfying.
When someone wants to catch the best moments of a game they missed, they have many ways to look for them: YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Scores Apps, ESPN and other TV channel digital platforms.
34 respondents mentioned 13 different platforms in which they consume sports highlights. Most of them take to YouTube (94.1%), but they can also look for them on Instagram (44.1%), Twitter (20.6%), Scores App (14.7%), or Streaming Apps like Paramount+, ESPN+, or Peacock (11.8%). Additionally, viewers take to TikTok (5.9%), Google, Sport5, Reddit, TV news feeds, Ole.com.ar, TV news, Google display (2.9%).
One may think that having multiple platforms to look for highlights is great, yet there’s a big problem behind this situation. While they have many options, none of them completely satisfies sports fans. 44.1% of the respondents said their experience is just okay, while 29.4% believe it could be better, and only 20.6% are satisfied.
Users end up juggling between all these apps, as they usually struggle to find in only one platform all the highlights they’re looking for. Consequently, they find themselves moving from one app to another, which makes the experience of watching highlights quite tiring.
No platform allows viewers to watch multiple highlights in a row efficiently. While sports fans may be interested in watching the best moments of two or more games, they struggle to do that in just one app.
Users want to do this fast, but no platform makes it easy for them: ads get in their way, the video they just watched is not always followed by another highlight, and the user eventually gives up.
Viewers have to deal with many hassles when looking for highlights. 71.9% of the respondents have a hard time when trying to find the right video for what they’re looking for. The excess of platforms but the lack of an app that results satisfying enough also makes that 37.5% users are not sure where to watch. 28.1% viewers often find the videos too long, while for 18.8% the highlights they want to watch are not even available, and 15.6% wish the quality were better.
Despite the countless options out there, none of these platforms seem to give a satisfying experience for highlights consumers. Let’s review which are the problems in each of them.
The most chosen platform to watch highlights, sports teams or competitions usually opt to post highlights on YouTube. However, highlights are not the main purpose of this app, which is why it has weaknesses.
If viewers pretend to watch multiple highlights in a row here, they will probably feel disappointed. As this app is not focused on highlights, the videos that follow the one they just watched may have nothing to do with a sports game. Another thing to keep in mind is that videos could last between 3 and 10 minutes, so watching multiple games could take at least half an hour to over one hour and half.
Moreover, ads can often be an obstacle when trying to watch the best actions of a game quickly. Additionally, sometimes there could be restrictions depending on the user’s location. Besides, videos usually aren’t posted shortly after the game concluded, it could take hours between the final whistle and the moment the highlights were uploaded.
On Instagram, the situation is more complicated. Unless the highlights are posted by an official account with licensing rights, the videos often have a low quality resolution, and they could be too short as well.
They are harder to find here, as this app is also not dedicated to posting sports highlights. On Instagram, users cannot search for a specific game or goal, what you see is what the algorithm decides. That also means that watching many highlights in a row is highly unlikely here, especially on Reels. The language is not always the one the user is looking for either, so Instagram also fails to satisfy.
On Twitter, users can watch, at best, a goal or a specific action of a game. But finding highlights, or only one video with the best moments, is nearly impossible. On this platform, the length of the videos are often short, and they may not last long before they are deleted.
Though many accounts are authorized to publish videos of a game, they are often restricted to the area in which they have the broadcasting rights. Therefore, a video that reproduces in Europe may not be available in the US, and vice versa.
The other problem is the accounts that post videos without licensing rights. Users who watch these videos will often notice they are in a language they don’t understand, or that the quality leaves a lot to be desired, or that they’re deleted only a few hours later.
Besides, watching highlights of more than one game in a row is practically impossible on Twitter. If finding a video is difficult enough, let alone to find two or more together.
The experience is sometimes better when users take to other apps such as Scores App or streaming platforms. Even so, they will find problems here as well. The first is that none of these apps have all the content. You may find some competitions in one app, but if you want to watch other tournaments, you’ll have to move to another platform. Therefore, users cannot watch many games in a row in these apps either.
The ESPN app, for instance, is great in many aspects. They have many licensing rights – but they don’t have all. On top of that, there are other problems when using this app. Users not only have to deal with 30 seconds of ads for every video they want to watch, but the videos are also in horizontal format, when users now prefer to watch vertical videos like on TikTok or Instagram (reels).
In the rest of platforms or websites, the quality resolution is usually poorer than in the aforementioned apps. It is even harder to find in them what the user is looking for, and ads could also be all over the place. In regard to watching highlights on TV, this gives the viewer even less control over the experience.
At the end of the day, sports fans want to keep up with their favorite competitions, teams, or players as much as possible. At the same time, doing that by watching live games doesn’t seem to be an option. While some may enjoy sitting down and watching the entire game as it happens, that experience takes a lot of time.
The easiest, fastest way to be up to date with everything related to one sport could be by watching highlights. This option allows users to catch the best of countless games when, how, and where they want to, without spending many hours. The problem is they cannot find many highlights in a row in just one app. Platforms should make it easier for sports fans, yet they end up juggling between multiple apps to find what they’re looking for.
According to Ringdigital, 44% of viewers take to social media looking for sports highlights. 28% look for them at TV network apps, while 9% choose the official league apps. In addition, 7% use sports scores apps, 5% their TV provider app, and only 4% their team app.
For those who missed a game, for those who want to re-watch certain moments, highlights save up much of their time. The experience, however, has room for improvement.
As none of the aforementioned platforms are focused on highlights, users often miss them. They may forget to do so, they can get distracted by the other content in those apps, and sometimes they are not even aware of games. Viewers don’t have it easy to watch highlights today. They have to make a big effort to find them, and even when they do so, the experience is not the best.
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