How Technology is Changing Sports Fan Engagement
There has never been a better time to be a sports fan than now. New technology is changing the way brands, broadcasters and teams are engaging with passionate sports fans.
Optical tracking and wearables are giving fans an insight into athlete performance like never before. It gives us access to data algorithms such as distance run by players, areas covered, peak speeds and much more. This information can be used not only for player strategies, but to give unique insights to fans. The NBA has been using SportsVU tracking since 2013, which collects real time data such as ball possession and player positions. Some leagues are also using wearable technology to improve player conditioning and performance.
Athos wearables collect muscle data, heart rate and breath which is transmitted in real time to an app to track performance and muscle activity.
VR has finally become reality! Broadcasters and teams are using VR to provide fans with immersive experiences like never before. Using 360-degree technology, fans can enjoy the full atmosphere of sporting events in the comfort of their own home. Usually all that’s needed is a VR headset and an app on your phone to be taken to the virtual stadium to get a near realistic experience. Virtual Reality was used during the 2016 Olympics and currently in the NBA.
Samsung Basketball VR Experience
As digital media continues its domination, brands and teams would be mad to not focus on YouTube. With over a billion users, and over 30 million visitors per day, YouTube is a marketing dream. This is why more and more sports teams have invested money in making quality content for their channels. FC Barcelona is a great example of a successful channel with nearly three million subscribers. It is a great way to give fans behind the scenes access and a personal connection with the club and its players.
Globally we are seeing the rise of smart stadiums, from accessible high speed Wi-Fi to being able to check how long the line for hot chips is. The Levi’s Stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers, allows fans to use their phones to scan their tickets, locate their seats and even order food right to their laps. Using their apps, fans can watch instant replays and plan the fastest route home.
Etihad Stadium in Melbourne has even installed luxury leather smart seats in certain areas, with built-in tablets to watch HD replays, access Fox Sports and view a live scoreboard feed. And we can’t forget about the big screen, not only are they used for the score and instant replays, fans can tweet their photos and messages to be shown on the big screen.
Technology is being used more and more in sports to help improve fan experience and assist with growing and maintaining the influence of clubs and leagues. Stakeholders are investing millions of dollars to make this happen, and sports fans are reaping the benefits!
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