Contributed By: Sanket Sawkar, COO – Sportz Interactive
The beauty of being associated with sports is that you get to call your consumers“fans”– anenthusiastic, loyal, self-motivated, emotional bunch of people ready to consume, engage, brag and put it out there for their favourite teams and sportspersons. All these traits provide great opportunities for brands, sponsors and tech companies to drive innovation and disrupt the fan experience. Technology is the key enabler to that innovation. While there are plenty of those, here are a few that are already making waves and it’s not too late to ride one.
A sports fan’s passion and need for content transcends screen size. The proof of that lies insmartphones/tablets being increasingly used to consume video content and rapidly transitioning to the spot which good old Television/Cable TV has been occupying. It’s no longer about catering to first screen or second screen but literally multi-screen. Research has suggested that fans, both young and old, are willing to subscribe to these platforms that can offer content on-the-go. However, the success of these platforms is going to depend on exclusive content such as the inside stuff from the locker room, different camera views and deep data analysis made available to the fan that’s not already available on TV.
While stakeholders are still coming to grips with leveraging Augmented Reality to appeal to the sports fan, bang, Virtual Reality re-emerges. Where Augmented Reality adds information onto the real world, VR completely substitutes the real world. It provides the opportunity to tap into a huge segment of fans that may never attend a game and they probably wouldn’t mind paying for an experience that offers the closest thing to being in the stadium while sitting in the comfort of their homes. This could also be a core differentiator for OTT content providers.
Internet of Things
Things you use are becoming “smart” through embeddable chips and sensors, right from your watch to your shoes and even your clothing. Wearables are steadily being adopted in sports training, fitness and games. The kind of data points being collected such as distance run, heartbeat, force of impact etc. and the resulting analytics offer unique insights for fans and lay to rest subjective debates because of objective data. You might just be able to quantify “butterflies in the stomach”– acommon remark you hear from commentators to reference a nervous player.
Chatbots backed by Artificial Intelligence are the latest conversation drivers among sports fans and their favourite Sports leagues, teams and players. Depending on how intelligent the bot is, you could ask anything from schedules, scores, stats, news and even tickets and merchandise. Because chatbots provide two-way engagement they appear to be more personalised for the fan. Imagine being able to ask questions such as “How many runs has ViratKohli scored off Glenn McGrath?” and being replied with “Hey, they never faced each other but that would have been awesome!”
While new technologies and trends emerge, the sports fan will always be there – readyto lap it all up. The era of technology in sports has never been more exciting