Will Smart TV Sports Experiences Come of Age?

written by: Chris Reynolds

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mobile-and-tabletSports media is always on the search for new ways to create riveting live action for its fans in order to help heighten the game-day experience and bring forth new-found levels of engagement. The promises made by new technology, especially where Smart TV is concerned however, have seen low utilization and utility due to a number of challenges endemic to the experience. Both, rapid evolution and exciting developments for the medium are about to breathe life into the entire landscape and create what may be some of the more exciting engagements to be found.

Traditionally, consumers have been burdened with a difficult smart TV experience across the board, from setup to usage and the entire process throughout.  The set-up was dependent on a user connecting their TV directly to an ethernet cable or by attaching a dongle to a port in the TV that would then connect to a wifi network in the home. From there, the application installation/enablement process was challenging to say the least. Traditional smart TV User interfaces and available apps were in no way intuitive and could be seen as quite limited in functionality--great for streaming content, checking the weather or a score, but little beyond that.

Thankfully all of this has changed with the advent of streamlined installation, elegant user interfaces and advanced onboard chip sets that lend themselves to rich, meaningful application experiences. Manufactures have finally been able to deliver on the promise of these devices and sports fans are going to benefit in a huge way.  

Over the last several years sports viewers have been conditioned to engage across multiple screens and services to follow players, teams, social feeds, statistical data, news and fantasy standings in an effort to keep up with the game-day experience. While the multiscreen space has its distinct set of advantages, it does make for an often difficult user experience and requires watchers to fragment their attention from the game to other screens and alternative digital calls to action. These fans will now have the ability to access a wide range of content through visually rich and engaging application experiences in a synchronous manner via the primary viewing experience. The big screen.  

The bottom line is that fans will no longer have to rely on a second or third screen to follow game-day experiences across multiple leagues, teams and sports. Sports fans will be able to access real-time statistical data, advanced predictive data and social feeds around contextual in-game matches that follow the broadcast play-by-play in real time.  The same stats and data points that experts and on-air analysts use in breaking down a game or an individual match up can instead be delivered visually in lock step with broadcast for every single play of the game if desired by the end user, without encroaching on the primary experience. It’s a way to blend new and live elements for audience experiences intuitively and seamlessly.

The ability to compare team performance, player performance, and fantasy data in real-time and historically, in addition to other information, will be readily available to the fan through a consolidated application via their remote control. These applications are catering to a very large audience, whether they lean forward or back. The creation of new engagements of this nature will allow for multiple content views supporting the casual to most rabid fan in a way that elicits the experience they are seeking out.

The industry has had time to think this one through, as the manufactures have had the ability to sit back and watch the second screen industry evolve, specifically around sports, and comprehend what works, what doesn’t and where user experiences  actually make sense for…well…users. 

As a whole, the Smart industry has taken these lessons and incorporated the best of breed features and functionally from the second screen market and incorporated them into their smart TV offerings.  Is this going to change the way fans watch sports?  You bet, it's just a matter of time.

Chris is the CEO of Multiplatform innovator OneTwoSee www.onetwosee.com 

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