We are at the cusp of a new era in sports viewership and experiences. Sports has become a 24/7 activity and sportspersons have become an extension of our lives, thanks to the power of mobile devices and the universe of social media respectively.
Watching live sports has become a far more interactive experience today than it ever was. Just as television changed the manner in which families in the 1950s interacted with sports, the internet has transformed sports experiences in contemporary times. The internet provides virtual access to sports in real time and on demand, allowing spectators to remain connected with the sports events. The major leagues are also deploying technology to stream content to fans and keep them engaged. Live streaming is becoming increasingly available across all platforms, with fans watching content on their mobile devices on the move just as easily as they could be sitting at home. With internet-enabled real time video streaming, people are watching their favorite teams playing a game in another time zone. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs are connecting sport fans with each other and with the sports professional themselves. Thanks to the internet, people are visiting the websites and Facebook pages of their favorite teams, browsing for stories, reading sport blogs and betting on the probability of winning a tennis match or any other sports for that matter.
The conventional sports stadiums are embracing technology in order to attract and retain fans in the face of a rapid increase in remote sports viewing experiences. Ticketing has gone high-tech, with sports fans being able to purchase tickets online in a matter of minutes. Online platforms such as Eventbrite have simplified the entire ticketing process, Facebook and Craigslist are allowing fans to purchase and sell tickets without having to navigate through ticketing websites, and apps are bringing tickets into people’s hands. Parking has become simplified, with a smart phone app revealing the closest available parking slot and guiding fans to their seats. In addition to big screen replays and highlights, stadiums are making it possible for fans to watch the sports-related content on their smart phones and share it with other enthusiasts at the venue. Laser light shows and projection mapping are taking the concept of pre-game entertainment higher by a few notches.
We are staring at a future in which our tablets, smart phones and laptops will recognize the game that we are watching on TV and give us a personalized experience on a second screen. The entire world of sports will be available in the palm of the hand and will be personalized on the basis of individual needs and conveniences. The arrival of new technologies will further blur the lines between the athlete and fan. The sportsmen will find innovative means of reaching new heights, while the sports lovers will discover novel modes of relating with their beloved team on and off the playing field.