Recast, the UK-based sports streaming platform launched in January 2021 as a more affordable and accessible live and on-demand platform for non-premium sports, has collapsed into administration after funding talks with a potential major investor failed.
Late last week (September 22), the company announced that due to “delays and failure” to secure a funding commitment it was suddenly facing “significant cashflow challenges.” The company had also been seeking a buyer but wasn’t able to secure a viable solvent offer.
Alistair McAlinden and Chris Pole of Interpath Advisory were appointed as joint administrators and the majority of the company’s 42 employees have now been made redundant. A small number have been kept on by the administrators to assist in marketing the business and assets for sale.
In a statement, Recast said: “After assessing our options closely with restructuring advisor, Interpath, including the possibility of a sale of the business, it became clear that no solvent outcome was available, and the directors took the difficult decision to seek the appointment of administrators.”
The company added that rights-holders had been informed of the impending administration on Friday.
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Why it matters
The collapse of Recast comes amid a boom for live sports streaming platforms, with one seemingly launched every day. Building them is the easy part, but trying to generate a significant amount of revenue from them is less simple – unless companies can lure stable viewership figures.
Despite securing rights from a range of sports properties, its business model has long been questioned by those within the industry. The company was only receiving 15% of the revenue raised by rights holders’ channels for the majority of its life. In June, it raised its commission to 20% but that failed to raise enough to keep it afloat without significant outside investment.
Conrad Wiacek, head of analysis at GlobalData Sport, comments: “The collapse of Recast just two years into its existence speaks to a wider structural issue with the streaming of sports programming. Fundamentally, unlike films, dramas, documentaries, or reality TV, live sport is typically programming you only watch once.
“Once the result is known, a sporting event typically loses that sense of jeopardy. While fans may rewatch key moments or highlights from a fixture, watching a full game, match, or race again and again isn’t something most will do outside of the most ardent fans – something that the likes of ESPN and DAZN are trying to reconcile.
“For a platform like Recast, the idea of Pay-Per-View (PPV) was solid, but allowing sports fans to be selective in how much they view meant the model had to attract significant numbers to each and every event. In theory, allowing fans to tune in for the last ten minutes of a sporting event makes sense for sports that build to a crescendo, like an F1 [motor racing] event or an NBA [basketball] game.
“However, the issue is that this devalues the rest of the event – and by allowing fans to only view the final 5 or 10 minutes, this meant that a very high audience number had to be met each and every time. The traditional PPV model worked because a broadcaster would make you buy a whole boxing card, for example, even if your interest was only in the headline fight.
“While this model has evolved, the idea that a high volume of people will only tune in for a short period of time and pay per minute seems to be a flawed concept.
"While the sports broadcast landscape seems ripe for disruption, the fundamental fact is that live sport is very much in the moment and a shared experience.”
Recast positioned itself as an alternative streaming platform for fans wanting access to watch content via micropayments rather than having to buy expensive subscriptions to whole leagues or competitions.
It rapidly grew, striking rights partnerships with the likes of motor racing’s Extreme E, the European Taekwondo Union, the International Canoe Federation, golf’s DP World Tour (formerly European Tour), cricket's African Premier League and European Cricket Network, the Professional Bull Riders circuit, Serbian rugby league club Red Star Belgrade and soccer clubs Manchester City, Inter Milan, and Hibernian.
It eventually became available in more than 61 countries, including Europe, the US and Canada, the Middle East and North Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
The company raised £5.9 million ($8.1 million) in a series A financing round in 2021, lifting its value to £20.9 million. Initial investors in the venture included Simon Bax, the former chief executive of digital animation studio Pixar, West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle, gaming firm Riva Technology and Entertainment, and private equity firm Visor.
Recast then raised an additional £7 million last year from the same group of investors.
Thematic Intelligence: Video Streaming
Thematic Intelligence: Sport Video Streaming and OTT