ISL launches OTT platform to fill live void in dark markets
The International Swimming League, the club-based professional series, has launched a free content platform to sit alongside its global rights partnerships for season two, which got under way in Budapest, Hungary this afternoon.
The over-the-top platform, called ‘ISL-AND’, will be available on the Island.isl.global website and via apps for iOS and Android.
It will stream live action from the five-week tournament in countries where rights deals have not been agreed, while elsewhere video of all events will be uploaded to the platform within 72 hours of a match being completed.
Ivan Grigorishin, who heads up the ISL’s digital operations, said the OTT offering was launched off the back of fans' feedback in season one in 2019.
He explained: “They said it was a cool ISL show but some fans were only able to access the matches later on YouTube and watching it live was a challenge.
“So we said: ‘Why don’t we have a place where all ISL content can be found?’. We started working on the OTT platform and we immediately knew we had a unique and powerful instrument with which to connect the athletes with the fans.
“When watching a match, we want to give the fans a great deal more on top of the live broadcast... the freedom to roam around the facility and interact with it. They’ll be able to be a part of their favourite team and chat with fans like themselves.”
Six cameras will be live streaming the action on ISL-AND, offering multiple views, while each of the 10 teams will have an 8K 360° camera operated by team officials and athletes every day to deliver exclusive content from training and team meetings.
Additionally, ISL-AND provides access to an archive of information, interviews and film clips from last year’s competition.
Grigorishin added: “We are building an ISL universe that fans can immerse themselves in. We want the ISL to be accessible to everyone.”
Earlier this week, the ISL announced it had secured broadcast deals in over 140 countries for the 2020 season.
Rights deals for the ISL are being brokered by In&OutStories, the Paris-based media rights consultancy of Arnaud Simon, a former long-term Eurosport executive.
Major rights partners include: CBS (USA); BeIN Sports (France, Turkey, MENA and Asia-Pacific); BBC (UK); Eurosport (UK, the Nordics and India); CBC (Canada); Sky (Italy); Match TV (Russia); SportKlub (the Balkans); SuperSport (sub-Saharan Africa); ESPN (Caribbean and New Zealand); Claro Sports (Latin America); Globo (Brazil); Seven (Australia); and TV Asahi (Japan).
The entirety of ISL season two is taking place in Budapest due to Covid-19 restrictions on travel, with M4, the dedicated sports channel of public-service broadcaster MTVA, showing the action in Hungary.Sportcal