Having worked in sports production since the dawn of the internet, and witnessing every technological breakthrough along the way, Pete Scott is uniquely positioned to have an eye on the future while still maintaining an in-depth knowledge of the past—something that’s led him to his current role as VP of Emerging Media and Innovation at Warner Bros. Discovery. In his role, Pete has his finger on the pulse of everything new that’s happening in the industry.
In the debut podcast episode of Sports Content Kings, Pete discusses the future of sports broadcasting with WSC Sports’ Aviv and Shaka Arnon.
As the episode kicks off, Pete talks about getting his start in the early 90s. He describes an ‘aha’ moment the first time he saw streaming video at a conference in 2000—and having that same feeling shortly afterwards when he had a hand in streaming the first college sports event ever, a football game between the University of Nebraska and San Diego State. In a way, Pete’s experience streaming that game would foreshadow the current landscape of the sports media market. As the sole proprietors of the steaming link, Pete and his colleagues quickly realized that they had a golden ticket for Aztec and Cornhusker fans, resulting in thousands of phone calls from fans and bar owners who wanted access to stream the game. Flashforward to over two decades later, and juggernaut tech companies like Amazon and Apple have emerged on the scene spending fortunes on rights contracts that have the potential of attracting tens of millions of new customers to their vast technological ecosystems. Pete uses Amazon’s recent deal to broadcast Thursday Night Football as a prime example.
At the end of the day, the question is who can produce the best quality product for the fans. So what are some of the things that Pete foresees happening that could change the way we watch sports and improve the fan experience? The first thing he mentions is a fundamental shift to low-latency solutions. Right now we’re all watching IP video that’s 25 seconds delayed, so he sees the transition to real-time streaming as a fundamental shift that will happen soon. The second thing he talks about is different versions of broadcasts; so that a fan can watch a game in a virtual setting with friends, like-minded fans, or perhaps in a group where everyone has a similar bet on the line. All of these things and more could beget additional solutions that would give rights holders the ability to deliver extremely personalized content to a finely targeted audience.
It’s fair to say that it’s impossible to predict what the future holds, but there’s truly no one better to offer a glimpse of the future of sports than Pete. Count on seeing some of the things he discussed with us and much more on your own TVs and phone screens in the not-so-distant future.