Technology’s impact on the fan experience

Welcome to today’s Digital Rookie Blog. I have been inspired to briefly discuss and consider the impact of technology on the fan experience, in particular in conjunction with Covid-19 implications, but also as a consequence of the different types of fan experiences we are witnessing as technology progresses. 

This week Apple acquired ownership of an upcoming technology organisation called NextVR, a virtual reality developer with business ties to organisations such as the NBA. So what does Apple have up their sleeve? Is this investment purely a money making decision or does Apple see a genuine future for virtual / augmented reality? Apple’s ability to influence society with their products leads me to suggest that if they develop a product that relies on the use of virtual reality, then we may well see virtual reality becoming a genuine part of how we conduct our day to day tasks. Perhaps an Apple VR service could become as part of our lives as systems such as Siri or maps. 

This leads me into my next point of discussion, what are the opportunities that VR / AR present for engaging fans and creating a new experience in sport? In the past we have see AR used in some really cool ways. The Baltimore Ravens had an augmented reality black raven fly out of the sky and interact with their stadium. The Sydney Sixer’s used AR to do player signing announcements through their app. Realistically, sporting entities are only limited by resources and creative thinking in regards to the extent AR / VR can be used to develop unique and interesting fan experiences. 

Then there is the cross promotional opportunities, and in my opinion no one has done this better in the last few years than Fortnite. In Fortnite’s short history, they have been able to do global in-game events that have involved franchises such as Star Wars and exclusive live concerts performed by Travis Scott and Marshmello. So what collaborative content could sporting teams use to gain publicity and develop unique fan experiences? Since Covid-19 we have seen the relationship between sporting clubs and video games increase significantly, from players streaming on Twitch to the English Football Leagues doing a full FIFA 20 tournament between all the top teams. Is this the future on fan engagement? 

I’d love to know if you had any other examples of how technology is impacting how you’ve experienced certain events. Can you think of any additional ways we could see the integration of technology create unique fan experiences? 

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