The way we watch sports is constantly changing, with technology and new media platforms revolutionizing how we consume and experience sports broadcasting. In 2023, we can expect to see even more changes as the industry adapts to the latest trends and innovations.
One of the biggest changes we can expect to see in the future of sports broadcasting is the rise of streaming services. Platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu have already disrupted the traditional TV model, and sports are no exception. Streaming services such as ESPN+ and DAZN are already offering live sports broadcasts, and we can expect this trend to grow in the coming years. In 2023, it’s likely that more and more people will be turning to stream services to watch their favorite sports.
Another major trend in the evolution of sports broadcasting is the increased use of social media. Sports leagues already use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and broadcasters to promote games and share highlights. In the future, we can expect these platforms to become even more integrated into the sports viewing experience, with fans able to watch live games and interact with other fans through social media.
The Future of Sports: Smart Devices and VR
How audiences watch sports, such as via VR headsets, smart speakers, and smartwatches, was also discussed. Speakers agreed that audiences are likelier to engage in those digital spaces and own that technology. These trends create multiple opportunities in the digital space, not just in the metaverse, offering different ways to engage with the consumer.
Peter Johnson, Vice President of Intellectual Property Licensing at Adeia, pointed out: “You need to maximize the value of your rights. You need to work with the requirements. You need to ensure that you also have some idea of how you’re bringing that viewer along to greater acquisition and engagement with your competition.”
Keegan Pierce, International Development, LaLiga UK & Ireland, added that this was “based on the reality on the ground of a real market – Ad vs. free – and how you’re bringing the viewer along.”
A continuing challenge for growing audiences is that so many games are scheduled for broadcast simultaneously, i.e., on a Sunday. Jean-Baptiste Casta, Head of Strategy & Business Operations, Eurovision Sport, detailed how the company is tackling streaming many games simultaneously with various solutions: “(With) many platforms, I suppose you will have the capacity to stream many fields at the same time. And our vision is also to be able to provide local languages.” He spoke of a new AI solution they are using to translate any news and commentary from anywhere in Europe in real-time.
The Future of Sports: Ecosystem Development
Johnson noted that even very large organizations are equally affected by streaming issues, referring to Amazon’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ problem. He continued to outline the benefits of ecosystem development with more streaming and more apps: “I think we’ll see over the next decade, you know, in the next 10-20 years, we’ll see what happened with that, and that brings with it this seismic shift from the cable to streaming – it’s a seismic technology shift as well. And those with those technology rights, in addition to content rights, will be poised to leverage that well.”
Both Sousa and Parmenter revealed that TikTok helped bring new fans, producing content to be watched vertically. As Parmenter put it: “You can try everything yourself, or you can fish where the fish are” within those communities.
On the topic of FAST, it was agreed that the biggest gap is in sports. Parmenter commented: “I see them both as a marketing opportunity as an upsell of service, and I would ask any of those vendors involved in the development of FAST channels not to make them dumb, to make them clever to make them smart to add clickable things. Add QR codes that can relate from one service to the other.” According to Parmenter, finding a way to curate these opportunities is the answer.
The Future of Sports: More to be Done on Inclusion
Pierce raised the concern about inclusion in sports, in particular relating to women’s sports and seeing more women participating in the industry: “There’s so much more work that all the members of sports entertainment broadcasting can do to foster those pathways to inclusion, in terms of women playing sport and as fans of the sport, which are both increasing…The success of clubs like FC Barcelona and in the women’s Champions League, and it’s a huge growth area. And there’s a real opportunity to continue amplifying our audiences based upon all that.”
Brydon’s closing thought was a positive perspective on the sports content industry: “We live in a golden era of content, and a long may it continue.”
The Media and Entertainment Leader Summit 2022 panel discussion was hosted by Maria Rua Aguete, Senior Director of Media and Entertainment at technology research powerhouse Omdia.