There is no doubt that technology has a bearing on sports development. During the latest years, the sports industry has gone through many changes, considering both the emergence of new sports and the advances in different types of entertainment.
The sports industry is getting more professional and accurate by the hand of technology. Thinking about a combination of sport and technology, who cannot expect innovative sponsorship packages, the possibility of increasing the ticketing offer, revolutionary fan engagement experiences, and the variety of new sports competition?
And yet, fans of these sports are getting older on average: According to Sports Business Journal’s data (Table 1), as described in the 3DownNation portal, the average age of fans of several national leagues and international competitions with a huge relevance has been steadily increasing. This trend can negatively affect the future of these sports: younger fans are not feeling the same interest as before.
Which are the factors driving these trends? What kind of actions to take as a result? All of these are burning questions for anyone in these sports.
On one hand, the world has changed: New device form factors (mobile, tablet…), the rising popularity of short duration highlights versus full games, the emergence of interactive content… these are only some of the changes that no one could expect some years ago.
The effect of generational change in the consumption habits of “traditional” sports can be seen in terms of the fan base, engagement, and viewing minutes. Newer generations, attracted by new sports, focused on different preferences and needs, living in an unstable environment, and benefiting from digital tools, seem to be harder for many of these sports to attract and retain.
On the side of actions, sports institutions are trying many different solutions:
The backwardness of some competition bases: ATP introduced the ATP Next Generation in 2017, a new competition to promote and highlight the young professionals.
Broadcasting and its channels: LaLiga has started experimenting with Twitch content and interacting with prominent streamers and casters. Younger fans use different platforms and sports must adapt to them.
Fan engagement: Euroleague has shown innovative strategies by promoting the FanXP Challenge: A Challenge to captivate start-ups focused on fan engagement.
Embrace new competitions: some traditional clubs, like Real Betis Balompié or Shalke04, introduced an eSports team in their business plan to connect with the new entertainment audience.
In fact, it is normal to have a little increase in the average fan’s age due to the huge variety of new entertainment that is competing with the sport. There are fewer possibilities to attach the audience in just one of them as there are more leisure options. It means that fans prefer to diversify their preferences, as it is being more usual to see multi-device consumers. However, traditional sports must be cautious about their fan's evolution and how this will affect the future of their competitions.
YBVR offers a means to rejuvenate the audience of traditional sports with a technology that resonates with newer generations. Sports broadcast from different perspectives, unique experiences from events around the world, total immersive action, and a variety of content options, all these factors combined make an incredible opportunity to connect with the younger audiences.