Today KSL-TV and Major League Soccer Team Real Salt Lake announced a first-of-its-kind Connected TV partnership called “RSL on KSL“. In the deal, 90+ live games, as well as VOD content, will be made available in KSL’s OTT and mobile apps. In an industry first, no major sports team has ever made a local-only OTT deal before with a broadcast TV station. The groundbreaking announcement is so innovative that it will likely send shockwaves across the industry and create demand from sports fans, “cord-cutters” and “cord nevers” in other markets.
Bringing Soccer To The ‘App Generation’
Real Salt Lake Owner Dell Loy Hansen and KSL General Manager Tanya Vea created the strategy behind the deal to help bring live local sports content to a new ‘app generation’ on OTT and mobile devices. Live game content will be geo-fenced in the KSL app to only Utah and surrounding communities. Coverage begins with Real Salt Lake’s 2018 MLS opener on Saturday, March 3, 2018, against Western Conference rival FC Dallas.
“Aligning our two organizations is a perfect match,” said Tanya Vea, Vice President and General Manager of KSL. “When it comes to big thinking and innovative strategy, RSL and KSL are leading the way. Our users and viewers expect the best. KSL’s delivery of the latest and greatest sports entertainment and information to people’s hands – including those who use free streaming devices and are looking to keep pace with their busy lives – will ensure that they have instant and enhanced access to RSL.”
MLS needs to get creative in the ways it brings content to soccer fans. Even though MLS game attendance was up last season, TV ratings were down. And the 2017 MLS Cup final between Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders was down 43% compared to 2016. If successful, the RSL on KSL deal could be the innovation that the sport needs to attract an audience and survive in the streaming era.
“This is all about the fans, who can watch RSL on-the-go wherever they choose,” said RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen. “Technology is rapidly developing, and we believe that KSL TV has created a best-in-class app experience for both live and on-demand content, which will deepen our fans’ accessibility and connection across the globe.”
KSL’s History Of Innovation
KSL has a rich history of digital innovation. Even though the station is only the 34th market in the United States, KSL.com gets traffic numbers that rival or beat the top 3. And if you want to sell something in Utah, you use KSL Classifieds, not Craigslist. It’s the only market in the United States where Craigslist isn’t the #1 classifieds service.
But lately, it’s KSL’s broadcast properties, KSL-TV and KSL Radio, that have been leading KSL’s innovations. KSL’s OTT platform has been recognized as one of the best in the nation and won awards from the Local Media Association. And their “Radio You Can See” strategy for KSL NewsRadio is a frequent NAB case study. This creative “RSL on KSL” streaming deal is just KSL’s latest example of innovative leadership in the local media space.