The second-screen revolution is transforming sports. According to the Sports Business Institute of Barcelona, 87% of fans use a second screen while watching televised sports and 70% of fans use their mobile device while at the stadium. Powering this trend is one simple fact. Smartphones allow fans to become more actively involved than ever before in the games they watch.
Live sports continue to dominate television. 89 of Nielson’s top 100 live broadcasts in 2018 were live sporting events. Most of the viewers of these top-rated live games are watching the game on their television while simultaneously tweeting about it or checking player stats on their mobile device.
But There’s a Catch
Live TV viewership is dropping. Even before the pandemic hit, television viewership was dropping. In early 2017, the Sports Business Institute of Barcelona pegged viewership as down 11% for Premier League games and 10% for NFL games. And the trend has only continued.
Furthermore, despite using their mobile devices more, fans are unsatisfied with how teams have utilized smartphone ubiquity. In a survey by Deloitte, those polled expressed less than 50% satisfaction with in-stadium mobile entertainment, smartphone access to in-stadium activities, ability to use their device to interact with their team, and overall mobile in-stadium experience.
Meanwhile, in another report by Deloitte, at-home sports-watchers reported only 39% satisfaction with the television and streaming experience.
In the absence of any changes, viewership could continue to decline for live broadcasts and large numbers of younger fans could turn away from sports entirely.
The upside is that there is room to improve. By employing the best that modern digital technology has to offer, teams and leagues can increase satisfaction among their fans, and even grow their fan base. By taking advantage of the ubiquity of smartphones, teams can improve both the in-stadium and at-home watching experience.
Versus Systems’ XEO platform has the potential to meet the challenge posed by declining viewership and low fan satisfaction. XEO gives fans what they want: active audience participation, on their mobile devices, accessible anywhere. Alone in their living room or in the bleachers along with 50,000 fans, they can use the XEO platform to answer predictive trivia, win prizes, view promotional content from teams and players, and more.
Back in 2017, 58% of sports fans reported that posting their instantaneous reactions to social media during sporting events makes those events more enjoyable. If fans like joining live-game conversation on Twitter or Facebook, they will definitely like the full XEO experience.
Adoption of second-screen skews towards younger fans. But younger fans are driving the declines in viewership and are the key to maintaining fan bases for the next 50 years.
Younger demographics especially enjoy sharing their impressions with friends while watching sports. While many Baby Boomers still prefer to watch sports alone, a majority of Millennials find sports-watching a social experience. And 58% of Millennials reported getting updates from their favorite teams on social media while watching televised games.
The key to maintaining TV ratings and stadium attendance is to hook younger fans. XEO has the best way to do that.
The XEO Platform is an all-in-one home for social interaction, info and stats, stadium logistics, games and contests, trivia, and updates from teams and players. Instead of switching between multiple apps to post on Facebook, look up stats, and check the team’s website, fans can get everything they want in one place.
Advertisers Can Leverage Audience Participation
The XEO Platform is a boon for advertisers too. It was built to connect fans with each other, with teams and players, and with brand sponsors.
Brands have long understood the power of interacting directly with sports fans. During the 2016 Super Bowl, Esurance ran a sweepstake campaign via Twitter that generated 835k mentions and 375k tweets just during the game. Coca-Cola also saw the Super Bowl as a fan-engagement opportunity. The Coca-Cola Polar Bowl reached 9 million viewers – and the company’s Twitter following grew 38% in a matter of hours.
If companies could be that successful using Twitter in 2016, think how much more successful they can be in 2022 when they operate directly in the fan engagement platform itself. Coca-Cola and Esurance proved the concept. Fans will willingly engage with branded content, especially if there’s a chance to win cash. Now, brands can deploy sweepstakes and prizes directly on fan’s smartphones, bypassing social media and separately-hosted microsites.
XEO allows brands to offer their products as prizes for games and trivia contents. It offers branded trivia, which can be useful for market research. It even has traditional mobile advertising. Versus Systems, the owner of the XEO platform, understands gamified advertising. The platform combines the best of in-game video game advertising with contests and rewards to create customizable, branded experiences.
XEO creates one place for teams, brands, and fans to interact. Teams and brands can know their audience more intimately. And fans get more action.
Leveraging The Increase in Active Participation
Increased participation is not just good for fans. It’s good for teams, for leagues, for sports writ large, and for corporate sponsors. Second-screen platforms such as XEO create more involvement for the audience and connect its members directly with coaches, players, and brands.
The world of sports is changing rapidly thanks to second-screen technology. These changes have the power to revolutionize sports-watching for the better. While spectating used to be a passive activity, that is no longer the case. Now fans get a piece of the action.
By embracing technological innovations and changes in sports consumption, teams and brands have the power to reach their fans like never before. If they use second-screen technology right, they can make sure that the next 100 years of sports are as good as the last 100 years. For everyone.