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Sports Leaders Forecast Tech-Driven Content Innovations

Almost four out of five sports executives (79%) believe automated content creation will impact their business significantly, 64% believe remote production technology will be just as game-changing, according to the latest installment of Altman Solon’s 2023 Global Sports Survey. The survey of over 150 global sports executives and 2,500 consumers across eight countries spotlights how enabling technologies empower the value chain to generate greater fan engagement and unlock untapped revenue streams.

New technologies, including AI capabilities, virtual production tooling, and cloud-based workflows, are transforming content production and distribution in the sports media industry. In addition to the impact of content automation and remote technology, 74% cite impactful changes from content localization, like Virtual Board Replacement (VBR). These drive cost efficiencies that drastically streamline content workflows and generate monetization. As media production and distribution workflows move to the cloud, rights holders and their media rights licensees will have greater opportunities to include localized highlight packages and acquire new, hyper-local advertisers with a fully tailored advertising inventory.

On the consumer side, just over half (52%) of sports executives believe content augmentation (AR/VR, gamification, and advanced stats) will impact sports media. This tepid response is partly due to low consumer adoption of mixed reality products. However, continued innovation in mixed realities and the launch of devices like Apple's Vision Pro headset signal emerging opportunities in the area.

Sports executives are less bullish on blockchain and tokenization, with only 26% thinking that Web3 technologies and ownership models will move the needle. This is largely due to low fan adoption (only 6% surveyed have purchased a sports NFT or fan token). Nevertheless, executives believe that blockchain-based loyalty programs hold great promise in the future and have the potential to create synergies with gaming and live events.

Meanwhile, digital native sports fans are consuming content in new ways, ranging from ultra-personalized feeds and streaming subscriptions to Web3 fan communities. As the technology matures, blockchain-based loyalty programs could create a rich ecosystem connecting rights owners, fans, and partners.

“Sports media innovation cycles are accelerating. The media value chain is being disrupted by tech-driven top-down technology and user-driven, bottom-up consumption trends, and sports executives are aware of the huge business potential,” said Altman Solon Director Matt Del Percio. “To reap the benefits of these innovations, rights holders and sports media groups need to invest in a well-defined innovation roadmap that targets areas with long-term growth potential. In addition, testing new products and identifying interdependencies between different innovation areas will be crucial for successfully navigating the evolving landscape.”

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Nearly three-quarters of sports executives believe content localization and virtual production technologies will have an impact on their business.
  • Consumers show interest in a hypothetical "digital fan ID" to unlock personalized content and experiences for sports fans. The industry is already experimenting with this concept and is testing ways to provide tailored experiences to individual fans.
  • At the moment, only 26% of sports executives think blockchain and tokenization will have a significant impact on their business. There is still room for potential growth as the technology matures. Currently, tokenization and Web3 ownership remain marginal among sports fans.
  • 61% of sports executives think that remote production will lower the costs and footprint of live events.

The survey included over 150 global sports executives, including rights owners, media distributors, investors, and 2,500 consumers across eight countries (U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and China).

To access the full report, please visit: 2023 Global Sports Survey 

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