Sports fans have been around for centuries. We think of Ancient Greece and the Olympics, the formation of games like rugby in England in the 1800s, and the competitive gaming that has filled king’s courts and small villages throughout the world. However, the advent of the internet and modern communication has changed sports, or has at least given us a new way of thinking about them. How has the sports industry adapted to digital technology and what opportunities could it continue to take from it?
Austin Barnes was an unexpected hero for the @Dodgers.
— MLB (@MLB) October 24, 2020
5G Tech for Sports Coverage
Traditional sports coverage has been given a makeover through digital methods of communication and information sharing. For example, FOX Sports has added 5G technology to its coverage of Major League Baseball so fans can see different camera angles. This allows fans to feel more present in the unfolding action of the game.
The ability to change these angles will also make the viewer feel as though they have a personalized experience. It may also help improve their viewership with younger audiences who expect this kind of technology. The future could see sports coverage allowing fans to have a clearer picture of the games and to be more in control of how they’re watched. It could also lead to a rise in those who watch through smartphones or alternative methods to traditional TV coverage.
Growth of eSports
The development of eSports and its subsequent popularity is a good example of how a centuries-old industry can be modernized for the better. Initially, a niche, the expanding presence of eSports, the prize money, and the legitimization by traditional sports stars, have all contributed to helping the industry reach more people.
— Esports (@esports) November 2, 2020
One of the biggest pulls is the competitiveness of the industry and the fact that spectators can follow teams and players closely and with an analytical eye. Those who enjoy this aspect of traditional sports are better catered to in that respect. The social media aspect and players streaming on Twitch means they are more connected to fans, which is also a pull for those spectating. As the industry hit $1 billion in revenue in December 2019, the coming years will see it continue this expansion. Sports should continue to foster the relationship with this offshoot of their industry.
Digital Boost Across Entertainment
The changing mode of engaging with sports can be seen across other aspects of entertainment, some with similar audiences. By presenting traditional industries in new ways, they appeal to new fans and even help older fans appreciate modern technology that they might not be used to. This has enabled people to engage with all aspects of competitive entertainment, such as online casinos, in new ways. Following the example set by the digitization of sports, embracing digital modes of connecting with players has enabled the online casino industry to grow and thrive.
For example, as the range of online casino games available shows, adding video content to slot games has helped reinvigorate the online casino industry. Players can experience slot games like Immortal Romance and Diamond Vortex that incorporate traditional slot gameplay with digital video content. The resulting success from the increase in technology reflects the changing landscape of sports and sports coverage by demonstrating that many traditional industries can benefit from digitization.
Some lament the changing face of sports and long for the old days. But the old days are relative and will be someone else’s changing face of sports. Those growing up with televised sports may have encountered others who preferred coverage on the radio, for example. The best way for the sports industry to continue to thrive is to always be adapting to what sports fans are expecting, which can be achieved by integrating new technology.