Demand Rises for Video Streamers, as Consumers Watch More Olympics Sports on Mobile Devices

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Sports fans have something to cheer about when it comes to watching their favorite Olympics competitions on mobile devices, thanks to partnerships between social media companies and major franchises. The trend is driving mergers and acquisitions in video technology and content. For example, in 2015, Slate Capital Group bought Broadcast Sports Inc. from L-3 Communications (NYSE: LLL). Broadcast Sports provides wireless technology for sports programming, including the Olympics.

The National Football League has also been looking to stream more games on wireless devices.Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and the NFL have reached an agreement under which Twitter will run at least 10 Thursday night NFL games in 2016. The arrangement includes highlights, along with pre-game and post-game broadcasts. In June 2016, Twitter agreed to acquire Magic Pony Technology. One of the main purposes of the acquisition is so Twitter can improve video quality in tweets. Magic Pony’s technology is designed to enhance images and videos.

The NFL has been looking for ways to grow in the digital space, as fans watch more games and highlights on the Internet and mobile devices. In 2015, the NFL partnered with Yahoo Inc. in a one-time deal (Nasdaq: YHOO) to live-stream a football game.

Yahoo also has deals to show events from the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and the Professional Golfers’ Association. Yahoo wants to make sure it has enough ads in place for increased sports content. Yahoo paid $640 million for video-advertising service BrightRoll Inc. in 2014.

Phone carriers, such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), also want to expand in video services. AT&T bought video content company Quickplay Media Inc. from Madison Dearborn Partners for an undisclosed amount. Quickplay provides an Internet video streaming service that allows users to view content on mobile devices. The target works with AT&T’s U-verse TV Everywhere and supports DirecTV Now, Direct TV Mobile and DirectTV Preview. With the latter, viewers can watch DirecTV content on any device. U-verse plays content from major sports networks, including ESPN. AT&T completed the $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV in 2015. Mergers & Acquisitions expects video will continue to generate M&A throughout 2016.

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