Technological advances are enhancing the spectators’ or fans’ experience in arenas and stadiums. To capturethe home viewing audience, stadiums are using latest technologies such as Internet of Technologies (IoT) to engage spectators and fortify teams. Around 70% of people bring mobiles to the stadium or arena and expect to use it during a game. These connected stadiums provide information on closest available parking and waiting lines etc., through mobile devices and big connected screens. These technologies enhance viewers’ experiences by broadcasting replays, alternate views, and close-up videos. For example, in April 2019, Tottenham Hotspur, a professional football club, opened a new $1.3 billion smart stadium in Tottenham, London, United Kingdom. The new stadium is equipped with an artificial intelligence system.
The global spectator sports market is expected to grow from nearly $144 billion in 2019 to around $192 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5%.
Other technologies being implemented in the spectator sports market include virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Sports organizers are implementing virtual reality (VR) technology to improve the spectators’ experience in sporting events. Virtual reality generates images, sounds, and other sensations that simulate a physical presence in an imaginary environment. Clubs and teams are experimenting with simulated and 360-degree environments to enhance the match viewing experience of the spectators, by allowing them to have a virtual walkthrough of the stadium or the race track and view the match at different angles. For instance, the National Basketball Association (NBA) game between the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs was broadcasted in VR. Similarly, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company which is known for stock-car racing, has created an interactive fan area at the race tracks with the implementation of virtual reality.
Augmented Reality is a technology that uses a transparent screen or a projection technology to overlay digital information or virtual images in the real world around users. AR turns the surrounding environment into a digital interface by placing virtual objects in the real world. AR is an emerging technology that has attracted the attention of the sporting world to enhance the performance of the supply side and enhance the experience of end users at the demand side.
The use of AR technology in sports increases the adoption of spectator sports and enhances spectators’ viewing experiences, thus driving the demand for sports events. AR also plays an integral role in driving merchandize sales for sports teams, which supports their overall revenues.