The rise of live sports streaming
High Button Sports (HBS) is leading the way in the sports and entertainment world with a mission to bring the thrill of minor league games to fans all over the world. HBS founder, Justin Belanger, knew he could tap into the passion for minor league hockey if he could find a way to let viewers easily tune into games.
Scaling past Youtube:
HBS started its streaming journey on YouTube but quickly felt the limitations of using a third-party platform to broadcast live events. As their audience and content offerings grew, monetizing the viewing experience became increasingly challenging, especially when the opportunity came to stream Ice Jam, a 121-game tournament available as a pay-per-view event.
HBS considered using Facebook to power the live event, where fans would pay to get into a dedicated Facebook group to watch a game. However, the manual effort required to administer the streams on a large scale would've made it impractical for both HBS and the viewers.
To make Ice Jam a success, HBS needed a simple solution for streaming games behind a paywall – that’s when they found Single.
Single's Live Streaming product provided HBS with a stream key, simplifying the process of generating and organizing games well in-advance, and allowing the team to scale their operations by streaming multiple games at once and controlling access to each.
This was a major improvement compared to using YouTube, where HBS would have had to reset the stream key, thumbnail, and description for each game, which would have been challenging to coordinate across multiple employees broadcasting games at different times.
By using Single's solution, HBS was able to launch a full video platform that enabled them to stream 121 games back-to-back over a four-day period. In essence, Single transformed HBS's Shopify web store into their own version of ESPN, giving them more control and freedom over how they bring local sports games to their viewers, wherever they are.
The Ice Jam tournament marked a turning point for High Button Sports, as it was their first event using Single Live Streaming, and even using a platform of their own to reach fans. Despite minimal marketing efforts, they sold hundreds of tickets, demonstrating the demand for ticketed local sports events online.
"The 121 game tournament was our first foray into having a streaming platform of our own – and it was a real game-changer for us," said HBS founder, Justin Belanger. "Before Single, we were limited in terms of monetization, delivery, and scalability of our content on Youtube. Now, we have way more control and freedom over how we bring local sports games to our viewers, wherever they are."
High Button Sports has come a long way since their early days of streaming minor league hockey matches from Atlantic Canada using just an iPhone. Since their initial success with Single, they have expanded their broadcasting presence across the region and are now taking it a step further by developing an on-demand content hub on their Shopify store.
The new hub will include not only live and recorded sports events, but also interviews and other exclusive content, going far beyond the original 121-game Ice Jam tournament that first brought them to Single.
Ready to get started?
If you’re interested in integrating live streaming into your shop, book a demo below – we’d love to discuss how Single could help bring your ideas to life!