When Stan Sport acquired the UEFA broadcast rights in Australia last June, football fans weren’t too happy as yet another streaming service joined the mix.
But fast forward just under 12 months and they have proven their football potential by giving the competition some quality coverage.
An all-star panel of Max Rushden, Craig Foster and Mark Bosnich have helped Stan leave their own distinctive footprint on club football’s biggest tournaments.
While they encountered the same issues as most when it came to their initial coverage, Stan quickly ironed out the kinks and been rewarded with a massive boost in audience engagement.
Stan Sport’s YouTube channel has soared to over 100,000 subscribers in the wake of their UEFA deal, with their most-watched video incidentally a highlights package of a Champions League game.
Already boasting rights for rugby, tennis and boxing, the addition of football to Stan’s library has proven a shrewd move.
“We have established a business, we’re looking to grow and having a product like the UEFA Champions League has meant that we’ve had quality content alongside all of our other sports,” Stan’s director of sport Ben Kimber told The Sporting News.
“That has brought in new fans and for us, from a business perspective, we’ve definitely brought very strong audiences to the Stan Sport platform.
“In being part of Nine Entertainment we don’t just broadcast a sport, we grow the sport through all of our channels. So we haven’t just grown our business, but we’ve grown the Champions League as a competition and its awareness in Australia.
“We’ve definitely noticed a lift in viewing and awareness of the Champions League. We think our combination with such a great product has brought that about.”
The 2021-22 UEFA Champions League campaign will conclude on Sunday morning (5am AEST) when Liverpool face Real Madrid in the final.
That match will be shown on free-to-air TV in Australia via 9Gem along with the usual 4K coverage on Stan Sport.
It’s a third final in five years for the Reds. Here’s how they made it 👀
— Stan Sport Football (@StanSportFC) May 25, 2022
The UEFA Champions League remains the pinnacle of club football around the world and Kimber believes their decision to start their football coverage in the deep-end was the right call.
“For us to get into football straight away with the world’s greatest club competition has really shown our intent, following on from rugby, that we are serious about broadcasting great sport,” Kimber said.
“I think the first challenge for us moving from rugby to football was the breadth in content – when you’ve got numerous concurrent matches on at once that was something as a broadcaster that was a step change for us.
“But if you look now, a lot of the feedback is how good of a job we’ve done. I think people are prepared to pay for a quality product and that’s we’re providing.”
Stan’s library of sports content continues to grow and on the back of their initial Champions League success, Kimber has left the door open for more football content in the future.
“There’s always room for the right additions,” he said.
“We look very carefully at what’s out there in the market as they become available and we make a call whether we think it adds to the experience we’re offering.”