Top Technology Trends in the Sports Industry
By: DeAnna Brooks, Client Success Specialist at LBMC Technology Solutions
This is not your grandfather’s sporting experience. From the fan experience to athlete’s performance, the sports industry has evolved, and with the help of disruptive technologies, will continue to do so. Read on to learn how technology is shaping and changing the sports industry.
Public Engagement through Digital and Social Media
Not able to watch the big game? 20 years ago, this was a disappointing experience for many sports fans. Not only because they were missing the game, but because they had to wait until the next day to catch the results in the paper or hear about it from friends. Now, fans can watch, record, replay on the device of their choosing, from any location.
With Social Media, fans can engage with their favorite teams like never before. News updates can be quickly sent to smartphone minutes after the news occurs. The divide between fan and star athletes has been bridged…fans use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to connect with their favorite players, allowing athletes to actively connect with their fans.
More and more organizations in the sports industry are turning to the cloud to manage their computing and storage needs. It’s easy to recognize the benefits of flexibility, security, and scalability. For these organizations, having the ability to quickly scale up and down processing capacity when needed changes the cost curve for producing content. Once the content is ready, advanced search and smart content recommendations lead to increased consumption. According to a blog post by Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft speaks how Crackle, a unit of Sony Pictures Television Networks, selected Microsoft Azure as a streaming service partner. Crackle programs Hollywood movies, popular TV shows, original series and feature films for the world’s connected audience. Azure helps power the streaming network’s services and allows consumers to view content at any time, anywhere on every connected device.
Virtual & Mixed Reality
One of the fastest growing segments of the technology world, the VR market is one to watch out for. Per SuperData Research, who specializes in virtual reality market intelligence, stated in 2017 that the VR market was worth $1.8 billion in 2016. Predictions for 2018 vary between $9 and $13 billion. Forecasts from Greenlight Insights and Road to VR estimate revenues to hit $38 billion by 2026.
The sports and entertainment industry is now harnessing the power of VR by creating events that submerse viewers in their experience. Last summer, the European Soccer Championships were shown in VR, giving them the full experience of being at the game. we saw the European Soccer Championships featured in 360 VR immersing fans into the middle of live games giving them a taste of the power of virtual reality.
With the rise in Fantasy Football, parallel participation in virtual sports could become increasingly immersive in the world of online gaming. Already, A FIFA Interactive World Cup Competition was organized earlier this year in New York, featuring 32 finalists chosen from 2.3 million original entrants. The virtual competition was aired by Fox Sports in the USA, and internationally, through affiliates such as Sky UK, Sky New Zealand, and FOX Sports Australia.
Virtual and mixed reality is also coming in handy for the athletes themselves. Medical students are now studying anatomy on a virtual level, and also makes it possible for sportsmen and women to become accustomed to highly stressful situations in simulations to improve performance.
Maximizing Big Data
Machine learning makes deep analytics possible, making the opportunity for smart advertising smarter than ever before. Product placements will be a thing of the past…in the future, you’ll be able to order your favorite athlete’s jersey by simply clicking on the screen.
The digital transformation happening in the sports and entertainment business primarily focuses on marketing and increasing revenue. But the exciting thing is they also focus user experience and engagement, and getting content to audiences where and when they want it, on whatever device they’re using.