The future of the symbiotic relationship between sport and media is difficult to predict with the ever evolving digital transformations that are occurring. As technology develops and consumer habits inevitably change, so will how we consume sport through media. In this post I will discuss potential changes that we may see in the near future regarding how sport could be consumed within digital media.
With the data collection that companies have on all of us from our phones, they know more about our consumption habits and what we are likely to do next before we may even think it. This has led to specific algorithms that subconsciously lead us to forming continuous habits online (Sipior et al, 2011). With this in mind, I predict that new ways of consuming the sports we love is just around the corner. Focus will shift to the fans who aren’t in the stadium as for example a game at Wembley stadium can hold up to 90,000 fans. However, millions will be watching the game from home on different devices and providing more engagement and fresh approaches to sport consumption for the masses could prove extremely profitable for organisations.
It is likely that as the virtual space expands, people will be spending more time in a virtual world, such as the meta verse. Sport consumption will have to evolve to cater to this with the involvement of virtual reality headsets, making it feel like you are watching the game in the stadium. Modern media channels have evolved in recent times, becoming less of a one-way communication source, enhancing interactiveness (Feng et al, 2015). Virtual reality tickets to live sporting events is a prediction that could be soon coming, being able to provide an access all areas feel to consuming sport, providing immersive experiences from the comfort of your home. We have already seen currently how BT Sport have introduced different camera angles which can be freely chosen and live statistics for fans to analyse to improve the action. This is highly likely to evolve and become the norm for sports consumers, being able to select exactly how they want to watch the game to best suit their interests.
Live chat rooms are already booming with popular streamers on sites such as Twitch, allowing content consumers to feel like a community and express their common interest together. This may flow into how sports consumers watch sport as it provides a sense of online community and can improve the overall watching experience.
Are you still watching?
Streaming services are likely to increase what is available on the site, with Netflix recently adding games to the service to keep people on the app for longer periods. Amazon have increased their reachability in recent years by having live sports on the platform, enticing a large group of sports consumers to purchase a subscription. Streaming services such as these are creating a place where the consumer could spend hours upon hours on, covering a person’s entertainment needs and sport is a key component for many people’s enjoyment around the world. Could we see the likes of Netflix and Amazon become dominant in live sports streaming? However, with YouTube having the majority of market share for education and lifestyle video content that benefits users, it’s hard to see any other competitors really challenging the online powerhouse anytime soon (Moghavvemi, 2018)
Finally, for sports consumers who are at live sporting events in stadia, I predict that there will be apps for phone devices where they can hold it up to the action that is unfolding before their eyes, where they can instantly receive live statistics on each player that they see before them. This could produce a hybrid experience for the fan in the stadium, being immersed in the atmosphere of a live crowd and also gaining specific data on what is happening right in front of them.
My most confident prediction is that mass media and sports will always be working together side by side, forming new consumer habits and progressing how people consume sport.
Do you agree with the possibilities of what is to come in the future? Let me know in the comment section below!