NBA Commissioner Adam Silver opened the NBA Technology Summit with a demonstration of AI featuring Luka Doncic and AR AR where he captured volumetric video of Ahmad Rashad and superimposed Rashad’s image over the image of an NBA player in a live game so it appeared Ahmad was actually playing in the game as opposed to the actual player. Talk about being part of the action.
Sports have been an integral part of human civilization for centuries. They bring people together, create a sense of community, and provide a source of entertainment for fans all around the world. Over the years, sports have evolved significantly, and so has the way fans engage with them. From attending games in person to watching them on television, fans have always found ways to connect with their favorite sports and teams. However, with the advent of technology, the future of fan engagement in sports is about to change drastically.
All the sports leagues agree that technology is the gateway to increased fan engagement and share of time and focus. With the help of advanced analytics, virtual reality, and social media, teams and organizations can now connect with fans on a whole new level. Much of the strategy is rooted in the changing consumption habits of younger fans. No longer are they just watching linear TV. They are often gamers and as a result gamification in sports is another exciting development in fan engagement. Teams are using gaming technology to create interactive experiences for fans, such as mobile apps and online games. These games provide fans with a fun and engaging way to connect with their favorite teams and players.
Today’s fans also have a far shorter attention span and are familiar with multi-tasking and want their entertainment to be a social experience. From that came the advent of the “second screen” where fans can view contextually relevant information, often analytics provided by leagues and teams outside the linear broadcast. These analytics can become increasingly customized and personalized in a direct-to-consumer world. Fans can access live game stats, player information, and other relevant data by pointing their smartphone or tablet at the game. This provides fans with a deeper understanding of the game and helps them to appreciate the performance of the players.
Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the most anticipated advancements in technology in recent years, although slow to roll out to the masses. It has the potential to transform the way we experience sports, particularly for those fans that cannot attend a game live. These fans can now watch games in VR, giving them a sense of being present at the game without actually being there.
AR technology can also be used to create virtual merchandise. Fans can use their smartphones to scan a logo or image, and an AR experience is created, showcasing the team’s merchandise. This provides fans with a unique shopping experience, where they can see and interact with the merchandise virtually.
AR can be also used to provide fans with virtual stadium tours. By using their smartphone or tablet, fans can explore different parts of the stadium and learn more about the team’s history and achievements. This provides fans with a more interactive and immersive way to learn and engage with their favorite team.
All of this leads to the social component where fans can interact with each other in real time. This has given fans a voice, allowing them to connect with their favorite teams and players directly. Teams and organizations are using social media to engage with fans, providing them with behind-the-scenes access, live updates, and exclusive content.
Technology is transforming the sports industry, providing fans with new ways to connect more deeply with their favorite teams and players. The latest applications of AR and VR in sports are enhancing the fan experience and moving towards an increasingly personalized world where fans are treated to an immersive experience tailored to their individual interests.