Long reads

Enhancing the future of live sports

Over the last few years, technology has advanced at an unprecedented rate, but sports viewing has mostly been left behind.  Sports fans are now no longer willing to simply sit and watch games. They are enthusiastic and enjoy having a wealth of information at their fingertips by acting as their own commentator.

While specific changes have been made, such as adding commentary, explanatory graphics, alternative camera angles, and slow-motion replays, progress has been slow and gradual. A greater level of involvement and immersion is desired and required, and now is the time to assess and focus on the future of live sports for fans.

Live sports path to the future

The vast amount of innovation that is currently happening can produce more profound and immersive viewing experiences. Broadcasters can now add more interactive elements once real-time streaming capabilities are in place.

Viewers watch live sports with others in various ways, from cheering in the stands to participating in real-time social media chats about the latest goal or penalty. Co-watching experiences for at-home fans allow viewers to rejoice in their team’s victories while commiserating over losses in a virtual environment.

These capabilities provided viewers with a new level of engagement and immersion that was before unavailable. Sports fans can now wager on who will score the next goal or select the camera angle they want to watch from their mobile or laptop.

These features benefit broadcasters since they increase the value of their service and minimize the possibility of users turning to a competitor, making it more appealing to advertisers.

The rapid expansion of sport betting

With the widespread legalization of sports betting and the integration of statistics and lines, the ability to customize what appears on the screen will likely become even more important. Opening up new revenue streams for content providers as they integrate with gambling partners to attract more viewers enables the creation of segmented services. Viewers will be more interested in watching segments of “late and close” games on which they have placed a bet.

As important as these innovations are for keeping fans engaged while watching the game, they also contribute to leagues, teams, and broadcasters’ bottom lines by attracting more eyeballs. It might turn casual observers turn into hardcore fans, engaging new partners for personalized advertising, and offering new products like purchasable segments of out-of-market games.

Redefining sports viewing experience

As the underlying technology allows for a more engaging experience, OTT platforms are uniquely positioned to boost engagement among sports fans compared to traditional television. As a result, broadcasters offered interactive options for at-home fans watching their favorite teams, such as live betting, in-game trivia, and personal camera perspectives.

Stadiums, broadcasters, sports leagues, and clubs must embrace streaming technology to improve viewers’ in-stadium and at-home experience. Fans might utilize the NFL Mobile app to interact with seven various camera perspectives in the stadium, and five different camera angles at home during the 2021 Super Bowl LV and project AR overlays of the NFL’s Next Gen Stats for players. In addition, Yahoo’s Watch Together, a free co-viewing experience in the Yahoo Sports mobile app, allowed fans to watch Super Bowl LV on their phones with friends and family.

The bar for a fantastic sports viewing experience will only rise as the personalization trend continues across all aspects of fan engagement. Teams, leagues, and broadcasters should work together to continue innovating, driving the fan experience, and gradually pushing fans from casual fans to fanatics.

This is sponsored content by edgecast.


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