We’ve covered Buzzer a few times in the last year, as the startup mobile streaming service attempts to tap into a potentially younger market of live sports viewers.
The app/platform/service offers a way to link things like League Pass and get notified if games are close, letting people who are presumably doing other things (even other things on their phone) watch key moments live. Most recently, Buzzer had a fundraising round that brought on some very big names as shareholders, including Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky.
Obviously a service like this only works if there’s a wide array of content options, and today news came that Buzzer has signed up another league: the WNBA.
Buzzer has signed an agreement with the WNBA, making it the latest major league to make a deal to distribute live game content on the new mobile platform. Financial terms were not disclosed. But Buzzer has already signed similar agreements with the NBA, NHL and PGA Tour. Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 25, Buzzer will provide access to WNBA League Pass, allowing mobile users to access live game content, including through custom alerts. In addition, users will be able to access live WNBA game content through micropayments.
It’s tempting to compare what Buzzer is doing to Quibi, or even microtransactions rampant in the world of video games. But there’s a very big difference, as I wrote before:
Buzzer is certainly an interesting concept, sort of offering the option to tune in to a game late if it’s good and everyone on Twitter is talking about it, in the form of a microtransaction.
The on-the-go entertainment model was famously/infamously pushed by Quibi, too, which flamed out in spectacular fashion. But that was attempting to push an entirely new form of narrative content. For decades, though, people have flipped a channel after seeing a game was close and getting to the end. The NFL’s Red Zone channels have proven there’s a market for that as well.
The fundraising and celeb courting and content deals are a sign that Buzzer is clearly aiming to make this work. But, then, so was Quibi, so we’re going to have to wait and see what the market says.