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The Future Impact of Augmented Reality on Sports Media

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Augmented Reality is the innovation that will abruptly disrupt sports media.  It will fundamentally revolutionize the consumer’s experience.  The moment is not that far away.  In the past few months we have had a rapping Tupac at Coachella and fans virtually posing with Super Bowl rings, the Stanley Cup, and the French Soccer Championship trophy.  Augmented Reality will center on specialized one off events for the next few years; however, the future of the burgeoning field is the enhancement of live events.

The aforementioned sport activations are superb in their innovation.  Fans will appreciate them for their authenticity, and they provide an opportunity for fans to identify with athletic greatness.  These are vitally important developments for properties and sponsorship activation teams.  To effectively construct a different sports reality, we will have to take this technology to the hands of consumers in real-time.

Live sports continue to be the most indispensible commodity of a network’s portfolio.  However, there will come a point when rights fees are no longer economically justifiable.  Distributors are increasingly willing to fight networks on their carriage fees, e.g. MSG v. Time Warner, Fox Sports San Diego v. Time Warner/Dish/AT&T U-Verse, and Viacom v. Dish.  These fights will continue at both the local and national level.  It is inevitable that the ceiling for sports rights will have ramifications that extend to the playing field through CBA related causes.  Therefore, it will be incumbent upon properties to develop new mediums which will give broadcasters more interactive advertising solutions.  This is where Reality Distortion will truly take hold.

I envision a world where the next Shazam integrations are geo-targeted, time-specific, and relevant to the broadcast.  For example, Coors Light would run an ad during the third quarter of a Chargers vs. Raiders game to a displaced Chargers in fan NYC.  The fan using an app on their phone or tablet would then be able to recognize the ad, the fan’s location, time-slot of the ad and offer the fan specific behind the scenes footage of the game.  The activation would include bringing Herm Edwards into the living room of the user.  Herm would offer real-time commentary about the broadcast in such a way that would speak directly to the fan’s team allegiance.  This user specific Augmented Reality will be the defining experience of sports media over the next decade.

We have only begun to scratch the surface of Augmented Reality’s potential.  The future will include geo-targeted integrations that speak directly to the consumer’s interest during live broadcasts.  The ability of properties and networks to offer these solutions to advertisers will ensure the sustainability of current sports broadcast rights.

Written by Peter Amador

July 30, 2012 at 11:14 PM

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