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Verizon Media and Leaders New Research Points to Arrival of Fluid Fans™

A recent report published by Leaders in partnership with Verizon Media is filled with data that signals Fluid Fans are here, and the sports industry will need to accommodate them.

For example, the report supports our belief that Fluid Fans want to be able to freely move between behaviors even as they watch an OTT stream. Fans want freedom of control that allows them to interact with the stream to learn more, and play with the content. According to the study, 35% of respondents want replay controls like slow motion, another 30% want to change camera angles, while another 30% want time shift ability. This kind of data backs up why we’ve been so bullish on volumetric video technology, the likes of which Intel is developing, because it supports all three of those features.

“We found that fans are looking for a viewing experience richer than can be found on traditional services. One that gives them more control and the ability for personalization of content, including things such as the teams and sports available to them, or experiential features like camera angles and overlaid player data,” said Ariff Sidi, General Manager, Media Platform, Verizon Media. “There is a fantastic opportunity for providers to reshape how consumers experience sports and think differently about how the complex area of sports distribution rights can work in this era.”

The report also supports our belief that Fluid Fans are continuously searching for new content that was previously inaccessible—a motivation made possible by OTT. According to Verizon Media, 51% of sports fans are subscribing to sports streaming services to access content they can’t get anywhere else. Fluid Fans want to discover new sports, and want to be able to easily engage with them (as in, on their smartphone).

What remains a challenge, even with the rising popularity of sports OTT, is exactly how to monetize advertising and sponsorship on these new platforms. An overwhelming 86% of respondents in Leaders/Verizon Media’s report say that they expect a “different ad experience” with OTT, which suggests dissatisfaction with the traditional ad break models on linear TV. But how do sports media companies effectively advertise by making use of the features new OTT technology makes available, like interactivity and better targeting?

This is exactly the kind of question our Next-Generation Sponsorship Leadership Board addresses in their meetings and work. The board is developing a report to be published later in 2020, all about the impact technology is making on the sponsor/partner process in sports. Membership organizations on that board include: Athletes Unlimited, Blinkfire Analytics, Brizi, Cisco, Coca-Cola, the Drone Racing League, FIFA, the LA Rams, MasterCard, Nielsen Sports, the NHL, Octagon, Promethean TV, Rover, Spartan Race, the Vegas Golden Knights, and Visa.

We strongly recommend you read the Leaders/Verizon Media report, and also download our latest report “The Fluid Fan is Here.” To learn more about our Leadership Board program, you can contact us at info@sportsilab.com.

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