With SportsPro Live just one week away we asked some key personnel at this year's event for a small preview of the kind of insight delegates can expect at the Excel in London on 11th and 12th April.
What was the most significant development you saw in the sports industry in 2017?
With the shift from linear TV to digital and social media platforms, the online sports audience continues to grow. Working closely with sports federations and media organisations in 2017, we saw an increasing need for personalisation and tailored content that goes beyond the live experience. There are some challenges when it comes to personalisation and we've been working closely with several federations to help them overcome these. For example, we developed a near-live clipping and web publishing tool that our clients can use to give access to additional content to their sponsors and athletes to promote the event to a wider audience on TV, online and on social media. More than ever before, sports federations want to be able to get relevant content to the right audiences on the right channels. Our tool allows users to create captivating clips, exclusive interviews and highlights packages and give specific permissions to different stakeholder groups. We piloted this tool last year and are currently in the process of adding new features for 2018.
What problem can technology solve, or do you want technology to solve, in your sector in sport?
There are more sports events, host cities, venues and more content takers than ever before. In addition, new sports are emerging, including an array of esports, and millennials continue to change the way media is consumed. To enable media organisations to create captivating coverage of an event and reach audiences on TV, online and social media, it's important that we continuously find new, affordable ways to manage production.
Where do you see the most exciting progress taking place in the sports industry?
In the same way that we see audiences consuming media in different ways, we also see a shift in how brands and teams target their fans with different advertising. Not only do we see the need for providing personalised content to different audiences, but also the need to provide an avenue for sports federations to help their sponsors to reach fans with personalised offers. Our latest remote graphics service allows our clients to adapt the graphical overlays seen during sporting events for different geographical locations. For example, sports federations using our service can change the units and language of the on-screen results for different audiences. They can also allow their sponsors to show targeted advertisements for each location, thereby maximising the event value. I'm confident that in the months to come, we'll see a lot of development in this area.
What’s the biggest change you’d hope to see in sport in the year ahead, and beyond that?
The biggest change we look forward to seeing in the year ahead is the take-off of UHD. After a slow start, we believe that sports will drive the 4K adoption. The decision of Fifa to produce the 2018 World Cup matches in UHD/HDR with VR and 360° video-on-demand (VoD) as part of their overall production plan, confirms that this is becoming more of a necessity than a fad.
By combining UHD/HDR with other technologies, such as VR or immersive audio, sports federations will be able to offer a far richer experience to their fans than ever before.
Is there a session or showcase you’re particularly looking forward to at SportsPro Live? If so, why?
I look forward to attending the sessions on digital transformation, including those with Uefa and DFL Digital sports (Bundesliga). It's always good to see what others are doing in this area to be able to fine-tune our offerings to meet market needs. I also highly recommend that guests attend the panel on New formats, new audiences: tailoring the action on the field to new tastes and technologies.