Sport sport sport sport sport sport sports spooooooooooorts blog.
That was a chant. Sociological research has led us to the conclusion that people who like sport also dig chanting, shouting, crying in public and pies and that’s who we’re getting down with now. This season should be renamed Sportmer after the relentless tide of events we’ve had so far this year. There’s been the World Cup, the Tour de France and Wimbledon all served up to us (sportpun!) this summer (Sportmer), and now on the eve of the Commonwealth Games we thought it pertinent to take notice of the way people watch sport in the ever-evolving whirligig of the digital landscape. *
*We realise we have used the word “sport” 13 times in this introductory paragraph, however Kylie used the word “lucky” 65 times in her song of the same name, so get off our backs.
We have reached, through a process of black alchemy and distillation, the conclusion that there are a few interesting trends that seem to define the evolution of sport viewing in the digital age. Here are our Top 5 Trends in how digital has affected the way we consume sport.
1. A Personal Connection.
We’re more connected with the players and stars of sport than ever before. Back in the day we could only guess how many bottles of whisky Best downed before a match, or how many puppies John McEnroe kicked to death before he took to the court; now they’d be tweeting it. We know more about our heroes than ever before thanks to their use of Instagram and Twitter as a platform to reach out to their fans and interact digitally. Disappointed in your favourite player’s performance on the pitch? No need to lob a brick anymore, just tweet them! This unprecedented level of digital access draws fans closer than ever before, bringing an element of the personal into what was once just the public. One social commentator goes as far as to say, “Fans seem to be more wrapped up in the sagas of individual athletes than they are in following their favourite teams.”
We did this Brass Eye equation to explain how it works:
Celebrity culture x Digital Media ÷ Sports = Higher Emotional Involvement + More Revenue
However it’s not just the fans that are benefiting from this. Athletes can earn huuuuuuge amounts of revenue as they develop their personal brand by harnessing and monetising their own popularity. For example the website fanwave.com allows teams and individual athletes to monetise every tweet they send out. Dope.
2. People Want To Share
Fan forums, live digital response on twitter and Facebook, apps, fantasy teams, content and games. Teams and brands have never had more ways to interact with fans. Meaning the fan experience is not just confined to the match itself and a brief chat in the pub afterwards. It can be anytime and anywhere, constantly. All of which serve to draw consumers in to the periphery web of involvement, spending and experience.
“Engaging the fan community socially is a hugely powerful ‘twelfth man’ for any team and the brands supporting them.” Says Rupert Stains MD Europe, at RadiumOne.
Heightened fan involvement can only be a good thing for fans, sponsors and teams.
3. No Need To Go To The Stadium
Couldn’t get tickets? Darn right, they’re flipping expensive. However, you’re no longer just watching a match at home with a bunch of your mates, you’re watching it with the whole entire world. It’s kind of magical or scary depending on how you feel about it. Live social feeds during the match can link up millions of fans to create great tidal waves of joy or abuse according to how their team play. “You’ll never walk alone” was never truer.
However it’s not just the social technology but the digital broadcast technology that’s enhancing the home viewers experience;
For example during the American NBA fans could create their own personalised “video mosaic” choosing the cameras that focused on their favourite specific players and teams to tailor their own personal viewing experience. Futuristic as fuck.
HD screens seems to be getting bigger every three minutes, added to which you can now watch in 3D so it feels like you’re getting kicked in the face as much as Ronaldo is, whilst also enjoying the features of your “red button.” Gosh it’s like a rollercoaster of endless tantric sport delight.
4. EVERY need to go to the stadium!!
Ok so you can afford it now? Good. Don’t like your seats? That’s ok; you can probably see a screen showing you every angle of the stadium so you can have all the atmosphere of the match with all the coverage you’d expect from a broadcast version. BOOM! Individual stadiums are also developing their own apps to enhance the experience of actually being there; apps that tell you where the shortest line to get a beer is, and how long it will take, where the nearest loo is or the food stall that you like. Genius. Anything that totally erodes the need to talk to others is good by us. But seriously, the less time you spend dicking around the stadium looking for what you need, the more time you’ve got to spend screaming bloody murder at the poor guy or girl tossing the ball around. Ace.
5. The Onslaught of The Advertisers.
Us advertising grease-balls love a good in and what’s better than engaging with people who are actually interested already? With the diversification of platforms comes the multiplication of places to advertise (another Brass Eye equation) and therefore more opportunities for team and individual sponsorship to reach consumers more effectively. We like to think of it as a giant friendly snake eating its own tail whilst making lots of money for everyone.
Ok. SO we used the word “sport” 23 times in this article. But you know what, in their song “Tell Her No” the Zombies use the word “no” 75 times so suck it.
It seems the lines between being at the event and watching at home, sport star and sport fan are becoming ever more blurred by the advent of digital technology. You can know what your favourite footballer is doing for Christmas as you watch him from 6 different angles live or at home whilst chanting with/tweeting to thousands or millions of other fans. ‘Every Orifice, Everywhere, All the Time’ is the slogan of this new era of sport consumption. Our prediction for the future? Space bats.