Connecting Fans to the Court: Creating the Ultimate Fan Experience

Sports viewing is driving digital video growth, according to the latest Adobe Digital Index Benchmark Report. With one quarter of all digital sports viewing happening on mobile devices, broadcasters, sports teams, leagues, and advertisers are waking up to the true value of online content viewed outside of the living room.

Fans everywhere are demanding sports content from their favorite team anywhere and on any device, giving those in the multi-billion dollar sports industry an opportunity to capture a bigger share of media consumption and advertising revenue. Here are three trends in sports media, and tips on how teams, leagues and broadcasters can create the ultimate fan experience with the proper assist from technology.

Social is a Slam Dunk

Our Verizon Millennial Survey suggests that 65% of Millennials use a second device while watching TV. Twitter was rated as the second most popular social network among Millennials (48%) — using it almost twice as much as non-millennials (29%).

For sports brands this means: reaching a younger audience will almost automatically result in higher social engagement. Case in point: the NBA with its comparably younger audience. According to Nielsen’s 2013 Year in Sports Media Report, five of the top ten most-tweeted about sports events were NBA games.

Professional sports teams can augment their own social media presence by taking in-game data and delivering it directly to their fans. Beyond real-time stats, teams should consider the power of video: sharing off-court training, on-court replays, jump shot tips, pre-game and post-game interviews, community involvement, etc. on Twitter is a surefire way to entertain their audience.

Vine, Instagram and Snapchat are also powerful platforms for fueling fan interaction with candid, behind-the-scenes videos and photos. Besides hearing from their idols directly, teams could offer incentives such as free tickets, seat upgrades, locker-room access, and fan apparel as a way to drive engagement and brand awareness.

An All-in Bet on Wearable Technology

Wearable technology has a bright and lucrative future in the sports industry.

Smartglasses, such as Google Glass, have the potential to create the ultimate fan experience. Live in-game streaming could give die-hard fans a unique view of the game from the eyes of their favorite players.

This creates the potential for exclusive content that sports brands and leagues could use to create opportunities for monetization and deeper social engagement with their fans. Capitalizing on the value of the mobile devices, fans could be offered real-time instant replays, control of viewing angles, and player stats on their mobile devices..

But, creating these VIP game day experiences will require a quantum leap in speed, capacity, and agility from their video network and services provider. Broadcasters, leagues and teams will need to adopt high-performing media management and delivery services to sustain momentum in an industry that is poised for exponential growth.

From the Locker Room to the ‘Digital Locker’

Sports fans want to access premium content from any device, anytime, with seamless authentication across platforms. Cloud-based, digital rights libraries allow users of digital home entertainment content to stream and download licensed content to multiple platforms and devices.

This is a unique opportunity for sports teams, leagues, broadcasters and advertisers to create the ultimate fan experience by rethinking the way they package, monetize and distribute their content online. From per-team subscriptions to buying individual highlights and beyond, new evolutions in digital media distribution will create amazing opportunities to deliver content to fans.

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