How we watch sports in 2021 is a whole different experience than it was in 2011. With technology and viewing experiences continuing to evolve, accessing sports for fans has never been easier. Fortunately for fans, they’re now being treated to far more than just watching their favourite teams.
Not only do fans have access to games, but also extra features, statistics, and betting opportunities. Bettors, in particular, have more access, when they aren’t playing fantasy football or playing their favourite slot games online. (recommended reading here if you aren’t familiar with the latter). Overall, we’ve seen both leagues and teams invest more time and resources in enabling fans to have more access to sports entertainment. Through that investment, teams are developing an experience whereby fans can get to better know their teams, and vice versa.
Fans now have access to sports news and more from inside the stadiums and through social media. They can also watch the actual games on the go via their smart devices. Here, we look at how fans are increasingly being able to access their favourite sports and players, thanks to the evolution of technology.
Analysis and Statistics
In 2018, we saw the first NFL game that allowed fans to place bets online through a sanctioned mobile betting app. There will only be an increase in fan demand for in-game data and information as time goes on. Fantasy sports, online betting, and just a curiosity in the sports themselves have seen fans demand more and more from analytics and live data. Sports teams have heard this demand, and have provided fans with the technology to access more data while watching the games.
Data visualisation, statistical updates, and leaderboards, along with the ability of fans to enjoy in-stadium betting only heighten the entertainment experience. Making use of technology to bring fans closer to data is vital in maintaining and growing fan engagement.
This is a great way for fans to access not only sporting events, but also event experiences. Fans watching from the comfort of their own home can now make them feel like they’re watching from inside the stadium themselves. They’re able to see videos that provide field-level perspectives, which the television viewer doesn’t have access to. Of course, they can also stream these games and extra video to their smart devices, and 30 per cent of fans do just that. Fans can also see video of their favourite players on and off the field, not only humanising them, but also bringing them closer to the team.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
VR and AR are becoming more and more commonplace in sports as a way of providing fans with access to new experiences. Fans can watch a game while feeling that they’re right in the middle of the action. Taking things even further, experiences at the games themselves are also becoming more immersive. One example of this is the MLB Ballpark app, which enables fans to access live data while watching a game from inside the stadium. That’s in addition to the plethora of 24/7 MLB news online out there.
Those days where fans are restricted to watching sports and sports-related content on television are long gone. Those fans have now been spoiled, and want more access to sports, along with their favourite teams and players. And they want that access wherever and whenever they feel like it. Technology will continue to ensure both fan engagement and enjoyment will become more accessible and more immersed, helping both fans and teams alike.