Survey: Key Innovations on Sports Execs Radar Include Automated Content Creation, Remote Production

Other key production/distribution trends include AI capabilities, virtual production tools, and cloud-based workflows

According to a newly released “Key Innovations” report in Altman Solon’s 2023 Global Sports Survey, 79% of sports executives believe automated content creation will have a major impact on their business, and 74% believe remote production technology will be just as game-changing. 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.

Both automated content creation and remote production technology can lower costs while producing content at scale and unlocking new revenue streams, giving rights holders the ability to create differentiated products from a single sports event. The NBA’s partnership with WSC Sports Technology to provide customized in-game and post-game highlight reels is one example. 

Similarly, content localization technologies like Virtual Board Replacement (VBR)—where physical objects like edges of the playfield are replaced with virtual advertisements—are now reaching maturity. As media production and distribution workflows move to the cloud, rights holders and their media rights licensees will have greater opportunities to acquire new, hyper-local advertisers. The NHL’s partnership with Supponor on Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards (DED) is one major example. The system allows for the digital replacement of camera-visible arena dasherboards within local, national, and international NHL game broadcasts.

The Key Innovations report also addresses how new technologies, including AI capabilities, virtual production tooling, and cloud-based workflows, are transforming content production and distribution. Meanwhile, digital native sports fans are consuming content in new ways, ranging from ultra-personalized feeds and streaming subscriptions to Web3 fan communities. The landscape is in flux, experiencing top-down and bottom-up changes, and is ripe for new products and revenue streams.

On the consumer side, 52% of sports executives believe content augmentation (AR/VR, gamification, and advanced stats) will impact sports media. This tepid response is due in part to low consumer adoption of mixed reality products. However, continued innovation in mixed realities and launches 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 adoption among fans (only 6% surveyed have purchased a sports NFT or fan token). However, executives believe that in the future, blockchain-based loyalty programs hold great promise and have the potential to create synergies with gaming and live events. The survey of sports fans shows interest in a hypothetical “digital fan ID” that can unlock personalized content and experiences for sports fans. Leagues like the NBA, along with technology companies like Sportradar, are already experimenting with this concept and are testing ways to provide tailored experiences to individual fans.

CLICK HERE to download the full report.

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