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What’s Next for Sports UX - The Future of Sports Broadcasting

Richard Z'Graggen

Director Product Design & Advisory

June 16, 2023


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While the pulse of live sports in the stadiums is back in a big way, the way in which sports is consumed has evolved. The sports video streaming market continues to hit new milestones as sports fans demand seamless and interactive viewing experiences from their homes.

At NAB 2023, I sat down with our VP of North America, Mrugesh Desai, to discuss and reflect on sports entertainment trends and experiences, as well as Accedo’s unique position in delivering global, national, and regional sports OTT UX solutions. Watch the whole interview below, or read through the blog that summarizes the key parts of the discussion:

Setting a common UX paradigm for Sports XR

Many sports brands and organizations are now willing, and even eager, to experiment with AR and VR. Getting it right means understanding the psyche of sports viewers and enhancing their at-home experiences. This could be, for instance, getting them a courtside view of a tennis match or being able to view the various parts of an F1 race car (or maybe even ride along in one) from their couch.

With a large range of VR devices expected to be in consumers’ hands over the next few years, broadcasters and sports organizations are challenged with setting a ubiquitous viewing behavior for both AR and VR and making an intuitive UI to deliver moments of delight to the user. 

The need for experimentation

Most of the OEM providers within extended reality have taken great strides in experimenting and improving the overall experience for the users. Devices are much less intrusive than they have traditionally been, and they are also easier to set up. 

“I think the challenge right now is just convincing content providers to invest and experiment. We're starting to see some of the tier-one media entertainment providers starting to do more and more experiments. And if that trend continues, then essentially the OEMs will back even bigger investments into improving their platforms, making it less intrusive. Eventually, it will come down to a real sort of mix of motivation both from the OEM side and the content provider side. And also vendors like us who are willing to put a front foot forward and say, look, we're willing to invest with the community overall.” - Mrugesh Desai, VP of North America.

Interactive digital sports

Unlike TV shows or movies, sports delivers a much more lean-in viewing experience. Fans are keen to get the latest stats and data for their favorite games and one thing the sports industry has a lot of is data. Indeed, the data that is now available for sports fans goes far beyond just the simple fixtures and team lineups that were shown in previous decades. Unique data points such as play-by-play data (i.e. face-off win %, home run distance, shot speed, etc.), elapsed time, or even a key moment in the game are being introduced into the viewing experience.

Sports is one of the best use cases for Appointment TV (programming that people watch at the time of broadcast) because fans want to see the action and latest matches as they happen. It is also extremely sociable and many fans prefer to watch together with friends and family. It is not surprising therefore that we have seen the growing popularity of watch parties, especially for sporting content. Streaming services, especially those which live-streaming sports content, should make this an important part of their product roadmap. While some traditional, more seasoned, sports fans may be reluctant to this type of experience, I think it’s pretty clear that younger audiences of up-and-coming fans are not only more open to this, but will also come to expect these features in the streaming services they choose to subscribe to.

Additionally, if a TV provides a lean-back experience, a second screen experience layer on a mobile device can work in tandem and complement what’s on the TV to provide a lean-in experience by enabling fans to access different camera angles or player stats, helping to deliver a more interactive and personalized viewing experience.

Contextualization provides a hyper-personalized viewing experience

Sports is a very unique genre, with fans who are very loyal to their favorite sports and teams. Pushing more personalized content around those significantly increases engagement. For instance, if a user can generate statistical information on their favorite player while they’re watching the game, or be prompted to view content related to that player as a game is ending, that’s a very powerful way to engage the user and drive more long term stickiness to a streaming service. 

The User Experience (UX) can make or break an OTT service. Understanding sports fans’ behaviors and needs is crucial to enable you to design and implement a service that will contribute to prolonged engagement for the users and ultimately healthy business performance of the service. Accedo has a rich and powerful history of working with top sports brands and delivering the highest quality solutions. To find out more and discuss the advancements made to our native frameworks and solutions, reach out to us.  

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