The overall sports experience is not as it used to be. If in the past, most of what implied fan engagement revolved around Sunday Football or Baseball October, today’s sports fans want to be connected and interact with theirteams and favorite players, 24/7.
Software companies have noticed this shift in sports content consumption and changing behaviors, and are now delivering all sorts of high-end and easy to use solutions to fill in those needs. Either working in collaboration with sports leagues or catering to the fans directly, these companies are changing the way we interact with the sporting world.
If high-depth TV and nationwide fantasy leagues made fans feel more close to their teams and even engage in a more active role than before, present-day audiences are looking to immerse themselves into a participatory-style viewing experience further.
The Rise of Augmented and Virtual Realities (AR/VR)
Even though the MLB is notorious for its willingness to stick to tradition through thick and thin, not even it can deny the need for some technological innovation to keep up with the changing times and consumer expectations. Back in September 2017, major league baseball announced the launch of its new app, aptly called At Bat.
This AR app allows fans to use their phones or tablets by pointing them at the field, look at each at-bat and instantly obtain a comprehensive view of each player’s stats. That’s not all that At Bat can deliver. It can also analyze every play happening on the field, displaying useful data such as speed and trajectory for every single hit.
Let’s also not forget about Hawk-Eye, the VR technology that’s been part of tennis, cricket, badminton, curling, rugby, or volleyball as early as 2002. Its technique makes use of several high-performance cameras positioned at different angles that, combined, generate a 3D image and depict the ball’s trajectory.
As of late, the NBA has also joined the AR/VR club. The league announced, not that long ago, that it partnered up with Next VR and that it has plans to broadcast all of its future games in virtual reality. Even the major league soccer (MLS) is delving into this realm. DC United has been experimenting with various ways of incorporating augmented application technologies to drive more fan engagement.
Sports leagues aren’t the only ones taking such a proactive approach to these relatively new technologies. Individual developers are coming up with their solutions regarding VR/AR to satisfy the fans’ needs. One such example being Fanisko Engage. Not only does it provide its users with these technologies, enhancing their overall enjoyment, but it manages to funnel all other content about their favorite teams under the same roof.
In short, augmented and virtual reality technologies are here to stay. Regardless of whether sports leagues are willing to implement them or not, consumers want to feel more engaged with the teams they love, and AR/VR is quickly becoming the norm in this regard.
Meet CSK AR : Fan Engagement Innovation