How BKFC delivers the best sports streaming experience to fans


“It was incredibly refreshing to me that I had to do almost nothing to get our content across all of those platforms … It was a very easy process to launch.”
—Christy King, CTO, BKFC

Sports streaming is a dynamic, fast-paced industry, and the companies making an impact have discovered that the key to success lies in creating an incredible user experience. Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), an American bare-knuckle boxing promotion streaming one of the most exciting combat sports, is leading the way in UX innovation thanks to a recent partnership with Applicaster, FanReach, and Cleeng.

Last month, a panel from each company came together to discuss all things BKFC and sports streaming—opportunities and challenges, the importance of “stickiness,” and what’s next for the industry. We’re happy to share the full video of their conversation around building and launching BKFC’s new live and on-demand OTT app and a few of the most important takeaways from this group’s successful collaboration.

A Powerful Team

The panel included four experts with combined decades of streaming experience:
Christy King | CTO, BKFC
Gabriel Smallman | President & Founder, FanReach
Laura Tapias | VP, Americas & Spain, Applicaster
Stijn Derksen | Director of Enterprise Sales, Cleeng

BKFC originally approached FanReach to gather a vendor team that could execute the full sports streaming experience, from launching a mobile app and OTT platforms to implementing new monetization strategies and customer retention campaigns. FanReach worked with Applicaster and Cleeng to bring the vision to life, choosing partners with “a history of delivering value, service, stability, and a good product. The things you really need to build a long-term strategy around.”—Gabriel Smallman, President & Founder, FanReach

Streamlined Integrations & Distribution

One of the biggest problems that streaming companies face is managing countless integrations that result in lengthier timelines and higher costs. Thanks to the FanReach-Applicaster-Cleeng partnership and pre-integrations, BKFC was able to achieve a quicker, simpler setup and avoid common tech and communication challenges.

With its focus on streamlined integrations and distribution, Applicaster was perfectly positioned to manage BKFC’s OTT expansion across all platforms, including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Roku. This allows BKFC to meet fans wherever they’re watching and easily share new events, experiences, and promotions.

The “Stickiness Factor”

Audience retention, or the “stickiness factor,” is vital for streaming companies as the focus shifts beyond acquisition and into keeping current customers happy. Cleeng’s approach to churn reduction and Applicaster’s user journey and heatmap tracking tools helped BKFC maximize their retention strategy.

Cleeng keeps BKFC top-of-mind for customers with email campaigns structured around specific user groups, like subscribers with payment issues or those who haven’t recently engaged with the app. By reaching these users at the right time, BKFC can overcome common obstacles that result in viewers leaving the platform. For Applicaster’s part, keeping the audience engaged on the OTT side requires thoughtfully tracking the user journey (where and when they access the app and how they navigate it) and using heatmap tools to track which features they’re spending the most time on. This helps BKFC make important UI/UX decisions and have complete control over maximizing the fan experience.

Made for the Fans

As Gabriel from FanReach points out in the video, at the end of the day a sports app needs to work for the fans, which he breaks down into three audiences: those watching from home, those watching from the bar, and those watching at the venue itself. BKFC needs to deliver a seamless experience for all three, and working with partners like Applicaster and Cleeng helps FanReach successfully expand their platform for clients.

Know What’s Next for Sports Streaming

The group wrapped up their conversation by discussing what’s next for sports streaming—the trends that will impact the industry and change how we all do business. Four main ideas emerged as vital for companies to keep on their radar.

  • Policy & Privacy Changes

The streaming industry is moving towards more anonymity and stricter privacy regulations. Sports streamers are uniquely positioned to offer value that encourages customers to feel comfortable sharing more about themselves in exchange for access and experiences.

  • UX Focus

Everyone’s priority should be on engaging users and offering value to the customer with an exceptional user experience. This is how businesses create “stickiness,” and once they’ve proven their worth, they can continue to create content that resonates with a loyal audience.

  • Mixed Monetization Models

Customers are getting more comfortable with more choices—this means more competition. Being able to pilot new and mixed monetization models (SVOD, AVOD, FAST, TVOD, and more) will be key for sports streamers looking to set themselves apart.

  • More Collaboration

As evidenced by FanReach joining with Applicaster and Cleeng to develop the right solution for BKFC, collaboration is where the industry is headed. Bigger organizations weren’t as comfortable with this in the past, but it’s crucial to success moving forward. Vendors must be able to effectively work together, stay flexible, and communicate to make sure they’re following best practices and understanding client priorities and expectations.

Are you ready to launch your sports streaming experience? Contact Applicaster today to get started with the industry’s best partners!

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