Tech Opens New Doors for Fans of Female Sports
To help celebrate and recognize the launch of the NWSL's season, the Sports Innovation Lab did a quick roundup of women's sports tech news to reflect a number of important trends we're seeing in the industry…including tech/digital as future solution to growing the women’s sports fan base.
Let’s face it, if you are a women’s sports fan, it is hard to follow, engage, and support your team. This is the case with any niche sport in any market. This flies in the face of fan behavior. Fans will continue to demand more access, choice, flexibility, and personalization…which was once very hard to deliver for non-mainstream sports.
Women’s sports (and niche sports) now have a huge market opportunity to reach their passionate fans with the use of digital technology. These sports are no longer beholden to simply mimicking and/or competing with the large professional sports model- with just a fraction of the budget. As cord cutting increases, digital channels open up, and as the ease of content creation and sharing (user generated content) increases, women’s sports have a massive opportunity to capture “new” fans and create longevity to their existing fan base.
With greater access, women's sports will attract and retain more fans…ones that used to be inaccessible. Some call this the long tail… others call it new market opportunity. At the moment, it's much easier to consume men's sports, so it’s understandable that ratings skew in that direction. The democratization of options will lead to more women's sports and niche sports able to land grab.
Real world tech example: Burst is the sort of company that is democratizing the playing field for niche sports: This company enables the transfer of broadcast, rights holders, or brand content to instantly deliver mobile video to broadcast, OTT, digital, and social media platforms. As a result, fan can now share their user generated content/ videos into live or curated media streams. Thus, avid sports fans can participate by providing content on Bursts’ platform and visibility for all sports…including the women’s sports.
Sports Innovation Lab's take: The NWSL's deal with Verizon-owned go90 is another great example of how streaming media platforms like The Olympic Channel and FloSports provide international audiences with access to sports that the major networks won't broadcast or aren't available out-of-market. We continue to see large investments in autonomous cameras and broadcast workflow tools that will only continue to increase the opportunities for properties to reach their audiences with digital broadcast.
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