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How Technology is Changing Sports Fandom Forever

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How Technology is Changing Sports Fandom Forever

Sports fandom is changing. Advances in sports technology are reshaping how fans engage with their favorite sports and athletes. Things like social media, on-demand streaming, and micro-betting are changing sports forever. We are now entering an era of immersive sports.

This monumental shift is driven by several key trends, including the rise of Generation Z as a major consumer demographic, the increasing use of social media by fans and athletes alike, and the integration of sports betting into the viewing experience.

Here is our take on the rapid transformation of how sports fans watch, share, and engage with sports in 2023.

Sport App Trends for 2023

Immersive sports is a concept that refers to the use of sports technology to create a more engaging, interactive, and personalized sports viewing experience. The goal is to make fans feel like they are part of the action rather than just passive observers.

This can be achieved through virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), interactive content, real-time data analytics, and social media integration. At its core, immersive sports gives fans the ability to create their own unique, personalized digital sports reality. In this reality, every fan’s experience can be different, even when watching the same live sporting event which is why having many immersion options can give you a leg up on the competition.

Fans can dictate what they want (content), when they want it (timing), where they want it (channel), who they want to experience it with (community), and how they want to consume it (delivery).

For instance, fans might place real-time bets through mobile devices, watch a game from a player’s point of view in VR, purchase unique merchandise from an event through a streaming video service, or share custom, real-time statistics with friends via social media.

3 young diverse sports fans in street, orange and blue
Gen Z is changing the face of sports fandom, and also changing the rules.

The Rise of Gen Z and a Social Sports Experience

Generation Z, the digital natives, are reshaping sports fandom with their craving for social interaction as part of their experience. According to Deloitte Center for Technology, Media & Telecommunications, 61 percent of Gen Z fans watch live sporting events with other people, compared to 53 percent of Generation X and 48 percent of Boomer fans.

Nearly 40 percent of Gen Z fans say they’d be more likely to watch an event from home if they were watching with friends or family. Furthermore, about half of Gen Z fans have used social media to read comments and opinions from others or to interact with others while watching live events from home.

They also show a preference for streaming-video-on-demand (SVOD) features that allow for more integrated social capabilities, such as co-viewing with family and friends while watching live sports and a live social feed right on the screen.

Fans Love Following Athletes Online

The Deloitte report also highlights the importance of social media connections between Gen Z fans and their favorite athletes. Nearly all Gen Z fans use social media to consume sports-related content. They are more likely than older cohorts to prefer consuming interviews with athletes, posts from athletes, and posts from the athletes’ families on social media.

Remarkably, around 80 percent of Gen Z fans follow a professional athlete online. This online following has a significant influence on their behaviors. It leads them to watch and attend sporting events the athlete participates in. They also follow brands or athletes, and buy products they promote.

This shows that for Gen Z fans, their sports fandom extends beyond the game itself. It goes into the personal lives of the athletes they admire.

Everyday Sports Fans Now Sports Bettors

According to the American Gaming Association, three-quarters of US sports fans are more likely to watch a game if they place a bet on it, and 51 percent of betting customers are more likely to watch pre-game shows and analyses.

Betting elements are being integrated into sports broadcasting and media. This engages fans more deeply and benefits from the global growth of sports betting and gaming. One example is DAZN Bet, which shows how sports OTT platforms are shifting to hybrid business models. Another is FanDuel TV or DraftKings’ VSiN, which demonstrate the movement of betting operators into the wider entertainment business.

Today’s sports fans search for additional content while watching live sports. Deloitte’s study showed that four in ten sports fans are more likely to watch a sporting event if real-time statistics are shown during live action. This trend is amplified in sports betting. Its relevant live or historic match data, tips, information, and odds that can be integrated into live streams.

Sports betting is changing sports fandom by increasing viewership, creating a truly interactive viewing experience, and growing engagement beyond the game itself.

Are You Working with the Latest in Sports Technology?

The immersive sports era, driven by personalized and interactive experiences, is here. Generation Z’s demand for social experiences, fans’ online interactions with athletes, and the integration of sports betting into the viewing experience contribute to this shift.

These trends will undoubtedly shape the future of sports. They will create new opportunities for engagement and transforming the way fans interact with their favorite sports and athletes.

How are you integrating this new wave of sports technology into your app? If you are ready to create an app that can scale.

Let’s Talk.

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