The Growing Mobile Sports Experience
The way fans have watched their favorite sports has changed a lot over the years. At the turn of the 20th century, spectators had two ways to find out the result of a game: they could watch it happen in the stadium, or read about it in the newspaper the next day. Then along came radio, giving fans the opportunity to listen to commentary from home. A few decades later, television added a visual element to that experience.
Until recently, we still watched games through our TVs in the same way as we did 60 years ago. And while our TV screens are bigger and display pictures in high definition, Smartphones and tablets have changed our viewing habits. Today, these mobile devices have created entirely new ways to consume sports content and augment existing ones.
The Second Screen
About a decade ago, the concept of a “second screen experience” was born, as social networking and smartphones became commonplace. Very quickly, TV companies began encouraging viewers to tweet about their shows in real-time and advertisers began using Shazam to create interactive calls-to-action in their commercials.
In sport, the second screen experience means fans can get even more information about what’s happening, partake in social interactions, and even place bets while the players are in action.
Online sports betting sites also offer this kind of experience. Leading US sportsbooks like FanDuel offer mobile apps that provide fans with live odds that are continually updated as the action takes place. This allows them to make predictions and choose how to bet based on what they see on both screens.
Formula 1 also has an official app for everything from text commentary to a live GPS map of where every car is on the circuit. This gives diehard fans the ability to reverse engineer the strategies that teams are deploying and make forecasts about what’s going to happen. Expect more leading sports leagues to offer the second-screen experience in coming years.
The other way that smartphones and tablets are changing the sports experience is by providing fans with the ability to watch their favorite sports from anywhere. General streaming services like Amazon Prime Video have been buying up broadcasting rights for several years now, including some English Premier League games, ATP tennis and PGA Tour golf.
Sports leagues themselves are also launching their own streaming services, including the NBA, NFL, and MLB. In doing so, they can cut out the middlemen of TV networks and deal directly with fans.
Both types of streaming offer much more flexibility and freedom, since fans have the choice to choose when and where they’ll watch games.