Article

Ronald van Loon
Ronald van Loon 4 July 2019
Categories Technology

How to Monetize the Sports Digital Transformation

The sports digital transformation is upon us, and the world of sports is about to be disrupted through the technology at play. In the words of the most decorated Olympian to step on the podium: “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” -Michael Phelps

The field of sports has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last decade. By looking at sports from a commercial perspective, we can tell just how much the world of sports has benefited from globalization and all that is happening in the tech world. The sports ecosystem—from the right holders to the broadcasters, the technology platforms, the partners to the providers—is ready for a disruption. Sporting events from across the world are now popularly broadcasted through different media to give an immersive experience to end users. The sports industry now generates some amazing figures, which  demonstrates that it is at the tipping point of something great. New applications are tearing down the barriers that we once had for sports and are taking fan experiences to a whole other level.

With technologies like IoT, Big Data Analytics, AR, VR, AI, and the Cloud, there is no reason why we shouldn’t believe that the sports viewing experience will be totally revamped a year or two down the line.

It is believed that the North American Sports Market, which is one of the most popular with the most domestic viewers, will have a worth of over $78.5 billion by 2021. The same North American market for sports was worth well under $53.5 billion during the year 2012. Hence, we have seen a rapid increase of almost 47 percent during the last 10 years.

These figures aren’t just from one market, either. If we look at other markets including Europe, Africa, Asia, India, and Australia, we can see different figures and increases that lead to a lot of optimism for the future. The figures from today’s sports market are all but indicating that the next biggest opportunity in broadcasted sports is upon us now. It is the right moment for broadcasters to jump on the sports digital transformation bandwagon and cash in on the prospects that are on offer within this market.

How to Monetize

Whenever the question of accepting the Sports Digital Transformation arises, organizations want to know just how they can monetize the gains on offer here.

Opportunities

There are numerous opportunities for broadcasters and organizers to look at when it comes to incorporating the digital transformation within the sports viewing experience. These opportunities include the following:

Focusing on the Fans

It is best for you to focus on the fans and to give them a viewing experience that is unparalleled by any other. Fans across the globe want to remain in the thick of things and do not want to feel left out of the whole process.

You should focus your campaign on the fans so that they know they are in the limelight and are being valued by the franchise.  

Stats suggest that many viewers today are casual viewers and may not follow the action live and on a consistent basis. This research just shows the potential for broadcasters when it comes to turning over these casual viewers into permanent viewers. Once the interest of these viewers is increased, the broadcaster will be able to achieve a greater permanent audience..

“We’re at an inflection point, and must weigh up the value of reach versus quality of engagement. Just trying to maximise reach is not a viable long-term strategy. Attracting younger audiences can be a challenge due to the constraints of traditional golfing formats in terms of the time and duration of events. Innovative new formats such as GolfSixes are helping the European Tour appeal to a broader demographic beyond our traditional fan base. Digital is the biggest opportunity we have to reach a new audience,” mentioned Tom Sammes, who is the Senior Strategy Manager at the European Tour.

Immersive Experience

With Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies taking center stage, it is best for broadcasters to incorporate these technologies within their offerings as well. Broadcasters that promise an immersive viewing experience with AR and VR technologies will dominate sports broadcasting in the future.

Challenges

While there are multiple opportunities to explore, broadcasters also face numerous challenges in completely revolutionizing today’s sports broadcasting sphere.

Attracting Younger Generations

No sport in the world wouldn’t want to grow their existing audiences. Every sport would want to have a larger audience size, and preferably a younger audience because of how much they are attracted to the sport and the competitiveness on offer.

Any business that wants to grow has to attract new audiences rather than continue to go back to its existing audiences. “We want to align with our customers’ passion points and recognize that we are going to have fewer direct touchpoints and face-to-face interactions with them. One of the important things with partnerships is you can engage with that audience around their passion points. When that all comes together it’s perfect. And, if you can engage new audiences as part of that, clearly that enables you to achieve a growth objective as a business,” mentions Tricia Weener, who is also the Global Head of Partnerships at HSBC.

Getting the right young audience is the first of many challenges for broadcasters and the sport itself.

Anytime, Anywhere

In the era of personalized content, the average sports consumer wants to watch the game on their own schedule. Fans want to be able to view their favorite sports on the go, without any issues whatsoever.

All viewers, but especially younger viewers, expect to watch content any time, on any screen, and be able to pause, rewind or watch highlights. Our platform is popular among younger viewers who do not want to pay subscription fees or be tied to a device. They want the freedom to watch and pay as they go,” says Parnwell from Dazn.

Fast Development of Technologies

Technologies around us are rapidly growing, and broadcasters are forced to think of ways to incorporate them in the mix on the go. This will present an increasing challenge for organizations going in the future.

The Impact of Technologies on Monetization

It has been found that AI systems can help with choosing the right cameras on the go. Viewers want to be able to see the right content through the right cameras, and AI can help accomplish that.

Both IoT and AI have multiple applications in sports that can monitor and improve employee fitness on the go. Players can understand their strengths and weaknesses, and work to improve them.

Organizers can also use both these technologies to boost interactivity levels in viewers around the globe. “Sponsors are attracted by digital interaction, and most brand partnerships will include incremental digital activations. For F1, digital is a tool to drive our marketing objectives for fan engagement, as well as a platform for business evolution. In five years’ time, we want the digital fan experience to be frictionless. The digital and media ecosystem should make it easy to be an F1 fan,” believes Frank Arthofer from Formula 1.

What Can Broadcasters Learn?  

Broadcasters need to know just how they can make the sport more impressive and exciting for  young audiences. Fans of all ages can become customers; broadcasters can help improve their revenue streams by incorporating technology and monetizing the trends here.

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