The entire economy is trying to find ways to better adapt to the speed things are changing everywhere in the world. Sports are not the exception. In the recent past, watching broadcast TV and going to the stadium were the two main ways through which sports brands used to interact with their fanbase the most. Today’s innovative technologies, however, are turning that notion on its head.
Present-day sports fans are all about versatility and convenience, both of which being possible and facilitated by technology. This innovation is also something that all sports brands need to embrace, sooner rather than later in order to get closer to their fans.
Social media has completely changed the way businesses are marketing their products nowadays. When it comes to sports, however, more and more people are turning to Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, Twitter, or Snapchat and live streaming games instead of watching them on TV. Nevertheless, these social platforms aren’t necessarily replacing TV, per se, but reinventing it.
Though it might seem challenging for some, branching out to various social media outlets presents ample opportunities waiting to be exploited. Not only will this trend open up new opportunities, but it will also allow for a more level playing field where even the smaller sports brands have a chance to be heard.
Live Social Displays and other Ballgame Experiences
Not even stadiums are exempt from this change. If in the past, kiss cams were all the hype, today, these are a thing of the past. Various, state of the art technologies have made it here as well. Snapchat has partnered up with software provider Tagboard, as well as with several teams from the NBA, NFL, MLB, and MLS in order to display live content on the jumbotron. Fans can now post and see live content for the entire stadium and TV watchers to see.
The San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Seattle Sounders FC, and the Arizona Coyotes, among others, are all using Instagram Stories in a similar manner. High-speed Wi-Fi on the stadium has also brought with it other conveniences so as to cater to their fans. The San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams are providing in-seat food delivery.
VR/AR and other Reality-Enhancing Experiences
Virtual and Augmented Reality is the next big thing in sports entertainment. Not that long ago, in September 2017, the MLB announced the introduction of a new app called At Bat. With it, fans on the stadium can point their mobile phones at individual players, giving them instant statistics such as arm strength, catch probability, as well as base percentage and batting averages. MLS team DC United is also pioneering this technology in somewhat of a similar manner as the MLB, as a means to get better in touch with their fans.
In short, technology is the way through which sports brands can better connect and interact with their fans. Nevertheless, the sheer amount of content and diversity can become overwhelming pretty fast. Certain fan-engagement platforms such as Fanisko Engage can, however, bring much of this new tech under the same roof, thus giving fans the experience they want, as well as the teams the ability to properly engage with them.