…and now that I have your attention, let’s move the virtual smack-talking to an environment that feels as if we were really at the game. With new realtime sports-related applications and micro-blogs flooding the market, always-on sports fans can get their fix of the issues that matter: Yankees or Red Sox, ManU or FC Barca, LeBron or Kobe. Sites like Zammee.com are allowing users to sign-in to watch streaming video of their favorite teams in a live environment alongside other fans. Alongside the video stream is a micro-blogging forum where hundreds of other fans are spouting off game factoids, scathing remarks and of course, personal coaching tips. The live stream replicates the experience of watching the game with friends, or being at the event – all without the risk of having beer poured on you.
Other applications are more about information than participation such as ESPN ScoreCenter or Soccer LiveScores exist as well where play-by-play action, box scores, live audio feeds and even on-demand highlight clips go straight to your phone while you are at work or at a formal dinner. Thank god for technology!
The immediacy of realtime communication is rapidly changing the entire industry. From athletes Twitter-ing away at halftime to ESPN announcing player trades via a new application to fan forums. The iron veil has been removed, and fans now have direct access to the heroes they idolize.
So, what does this all mean for sports? Already the rules of access to information have changed the landscape of sports journalism. But what about the new rules of fan engagement? Does direct access into the personal lives of athletes darken the rose-colored lenses through which fans view them? Will the conventional models of sports sponsorship and endorsement morph to reflect a shift from brand association to more directly measurable forms of interaction with audiences. And on a basic level – are outlets like Twitter and Facebook a distraction to athletic performance?
We explore these and other topics in Part 1 of our 2-Part IdeaPaper: Realtime Sports. We invite you to download it and share your thoughts below.
By the way, this one time, and one time only, we will allow you to use our forum to express your deep-seeded hatred for the Evil Empires that exist in your country. *The Realtime Project, as a forum for discussion, is unbiased on this front.