From VR to AI to wearable tech, sports broadcasters continue to search for the next way to enhance the viewing experience for their fans. Sports continues to be at the very center of innovation when it comes to technology — it's a vast market whose fans are typically responsive to better ways of experiencing the big game. So, what are the game-changing trends for sports broadcasting? What role is technology playing at sporting events throughout Covid-19, when the stadiums are empty, and an organic atmosphere is non-existent? Carry on reading to find out.
1. Wearable Tech
Wearable tech isn't exactly a new phenomenon in sports — most top teams have their players kitted out in GPS trackers and other equipment to give coaches and medical staff deep insight into real-time performance and condition. However, wearable tech hasn't yet enhanced a whole amount for fans, aside from minor improvements like body cameras on referees. This is all about to change. Wearables on hats, wristbands, apparel, and even full-body suits are set to take the viewing experience to the next level, taking fans well and truly into the heart of the action.
2. Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning
The potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning in sports is vast. 'Speech to text' accurately converts live commentary voice to text in hundreds of different languages in realtime. Using image recognition software, broadcasters can capture realtime data of players, referees, or even the ball itself in play. Using this raw data, Machine Learning tools can extract whichever stats might be most relevant to provide insight to viewers on a level never seen before.
3. Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) is what many people think about when imagining the 'next generation' of fan experience — within sports and elsewhere. Alongside Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR), VR promises to offer an immersive experience for fans both at home and in the stadium. Surrounding gameday itself, VR is revolutionizing how fans engage with their favorite teams and players. Dedicated VR fan zones offer interaction on quite an incredible level. From a commercial perspective, VR also delivers tremendous fan loyalty, so expect far more to come.
4. Remote Production Networks
Arguably the most game-changing trend on this list is the transformation of how sports will be broadcasted around the world. Remote production with high capacity and a low latency network of scale will be sent from a sports venue back to a production hub, potentially ending the need for on-site TV crews and production teams. Not only will this save money and reduce carbon footprint, but it will also open up so many more venues for live sports—a win for the fans.
5. Covid-19 Implementations
Since Covid-19 struck, the world of sports as we know it has completely changed. Initially, sports were put on hold entirely, with events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed until next year. Upon the restarting of live events, fan participation has all but disappeared, with only a select handful of events starting to allow a controlled number of fans back into the stadiums. Technology has helped fill the considerable void. Canned crowd noise is fed into the production to provide atmosphere, and fans watching live at home have been beamed onto giant screens into stadiums and arenas to maintain a connection between supporters and players.