Live sports – long the linchpin of linear – is spreading to streaming.
But as more sports-focused streaming services run onto the court, they need to stand apart from the competition.
Take ClashTV, an online and mobile livestreaming platform that became a home for high-action sports such as streetball (a type of basketball played outdoors) and mixed martial arts in 2021. Like other newbie services, ClashTV works with smaller leagues and even streams some high school basketball.
Sports is a lucrative niche because the level of online engagement is on par with that of the gaming community, CEO Jonathan Anastas tells me. Anastas became CEO of ClashTV in March after executive marketing roles at ONE Esports, Activision Blizzard and Atari.
Anastas declined to share exactly how many monthly active users ClashTV has, but he says it reaches millions of people per month across its website, mobile app and social media handles.
But ads monetization is slow-going. ClashTV is still trying to build its viewership, and advertisers have brand safety concerns about combat sports under the mixed martial arts umbrella. (One word: blood.)
I sat down with Anastas last week to learn more about how ClashTV is trying to monetize its platform.
AdExchanger: Who exactly is ClashTV for?
JONATHAN ANASTAS: A majority of our viewers are between 18 and 30 years old and engage with high-action, clippable games and tournaments they can easily share or repost.
Our content mostly involves smaller sports leagues and high school sports, especially in cases where we can help support communities of color. For example, we signed a brand sponsorship deal with Amazon Music earlier this year where we gave Amazon access to data that could help it identify streetball fans and athletes in exchange for an investment in public park space within underserved communities of color.
How does ClashTV monetize?
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We monetize with advertising, brand sponsorships and microtransactions on the platform.
We’re testing pay-per-view for the most popular in-season content, and we also plan to test monthly paid subscriptions. It wouldn’t appeal to our target audience, but since some of our content highlights high school sports, we think parents might sign up for a paid subscription.
ClashTV focuses more on sports teams and less on individual creators. We can charge $25 or $30 for ad spots in streetball livestreams, but content generated by a single athlete or influencer would sell for much less.
What is your monetization strategy for advertising?
We sell pre- and mid-roll ad spots. We also do title sponsorships with brands, which usually involve a joint effort planning and producing a stream with custom brand integrations, including product placement.
But advertisers hesitate to spend on mixed martial arts livestreams because of brand safety and suitability concerns, despite the high levels of engagement around the sport.
How do you convince brands to invest in ClashTV?
We don’t have much scale yet, but we’re pitching advertisers with a very specific audience that also overlaps with fans of major sports leagues like the NBA.
We also pitch brands with an audience that’s highly engaged with sports, especially community sports. The average watch time on our platform is 17 minutes, and the streetball tournaments we stream generate a lot of activity in terms of likes, comments and shares.
Do you sell inventory programmatically?
We work with programmatic platforms such as The Trade Desk and Google Ad Manager to backfill pre- and mid-roll inventory we weren’t able to sell directly. Programmatic goes for lower CPMs, but it’s a good way to make sure we’re filling our available ad inventory.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.
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