Virtual / Augmented / Mixed Reality has been on the tip of the tongue for tech evangelists for what seems an age, but it is only in the past 12-18 months that the blue touch paper has been dangled in front of the flame, and Sport is leading the way.
Elite sport is the greatest and most natural creator of content, the perfect narrative, the natural story-telling device. Since the rise of the major brand advertising in the back half of the last century no other vertical has created such a continual and constant platform for engagement, branding and reach. And not for nothing, few do it better than in the US. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL have been using the power of sport to create incredible commercial return, and the rest of the world has realised this and quickly followed suit.
So where does Immersive Tech and Digital Reality fit into this scenario? It offers such potential, bringing the viewer, both inside and outside the arena so close to the action and connected in a way never previously believed possible. It has been the final frontier for fan engagement, brand connectivity and reach. It is only now that potential is being realised as Leagues, Franchises, Athletes and Governing Bodies are harnessing the tech to explore commercial possibility.
Elite Sport and Sport Broadcasting have worked hand in hand for decades. Throw into the mix the rise of live streaming, mobile technology, multiple device viewing and there has never been more opportunity, choice or dexterity in the hands of the consumer.
Sport is the vehicle, and it is reaching more people than ever before, but equally the consumers have increasingly high demands on the quality, standard, depth and interactivity of what they consume.
Immersive Technology is the game-changer
It is the critical distinction between mass viewership and a global interactive and engaged fan-base with the all the commercial opportunities they create. The wave is rising, but nobody is quite sure how to catch it. We all know it is here and here to stay, but there is an uncertainty on the best way to move forward.
Is the technology capable of delivering and how do we commercialise effectively? Is it a subscription model or a partnership model? How can we prove an ROI and how long do we need to prove value?
What is certain is that we are fast moving beyond the ‘trial and error’ experimental stage. Those that learn how to monetise and move quickly will activate huge broadcast, brand and consumer revenues.
Sport creates a global interactive audience, immersive technology is the keys to the $100billion market. The landscape is about to evolve very quickly and there will be some Big Winners and Losers.
The World Virtual/Augmented Sports Innovation Summit held in San Francisco on November 15-16 is the intersection of sport and technology and brings together the leaders from across the entire sporting ecosystem. With the very latest in immersive technology being showcased alongside the leading commercial, marketing and performance strategy from the global sports industry it is the decisive event for the sports performance and entertainment industries.