Digitally Activated: Sports Centered

A Look at Online Sports Activations

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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

Multi-Screen Sports Viewing Options for 2013

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How can networks capitalize upon the fragmented attention span of sports fans during live broadcasts? The reality of our ever increasing need for information has caused broadcasters to not only think about how they stay connected with viewers, but also how to serve their advertising partners.  The use of multiple screens by viewers has been widely debated by advertisers and programmers.  Evidence from parties such as Time Warner’s Research Council suggests that users who interact with social media during broadcasts are more engaged with programming than those that watch broadcasts without a second screen option.  NBC and ESPN are developing apps to address the opportunities associated with multi-screen viewing experiences.

NBC’s Live Extra App for the 2012 Summer Olympics “will allow you to view live video, highlights, news, and more on your smartphone or tablet”.  Satellite and cable subscribers will be able to access more than 3,500 hours of live competitions, including medal events.  NBC’s new app will not deter viewership from their broadcasts, but will either complement their broadcasts or connect with viewers unable to watch the events live on their TV.  A similar thought process has compelled ESPN to develop an app for the college football season.

ESPN will unveil a college football app that has access to video highlights as soon as six seconds from the live action, game recaps, trending scores, and live engagement.  The opportunity to connect fans before, during and after games is what appeals to ESPN.  The fact that they will be offering in-game highlights demonstrates that they are committed to providing fans with content as it unfolds.  This user first approach of ESPN will ensure that the company continues to provide its consumers with the experience they demand, and advertisers with opportunities that connect them with the experience of the game.

The sports consumer now demands to know what, why and how things are happening in real-time and wants to consume this information on their terms.  Broadcasters no longer have a monopoly over a fan’s attention span.  It is imperative that they continue to provide fans with more interactive options during their broadcasts.  NBC and ESPN should be commended for their initiative, and we can be assured that they will not be the last broadcasters to take this approach.

Written by Peter Amador

July 18, 2012 at 11:35 PM

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