In our most recent webcast, ‘Live Sport: Are the fans driving innovation?’ we were looking at whether the consumers are the stimuli behind new technologies in live sports production.

Andy Brember, Kantar’s Commercial Director for Sport, led the webcast, presenting Kantar’s recent research into innovation in the sports world. He was joined by Melissa Lawton, Head of Live Production for Facebook, Tony Page, President of Digital and Live Divisions for Deltatre, and Matt Stagg, Director of Mobile Strategy for BT Sport.

One thing that was made clear in the session is that the UK loves sports. Referring to one of Kantar’s recent reports, Andy highlighted that 83% of the population consider themselves a sports fan, the biggest draws being football and tennis. Esports, a relative newcomer, has its fans too; it’s growing fast in proportion to itself however it’s currently attracting a much lesser 5% of the population.

Fans consume sports via a variety of devices but it is very clear that TV remains the most popular method of watching sports. This is most likely due to the large screen sizes available and also the shared experiences a larger screen can offer. This is despite the increase in viewing via a smartphone, thanks to a second-screening culture.

Second-screening presents a challenge – it can draw a viewer’s attention away from the core activity on the main screen. It also presents an opportunity for innovation that, if used appropriately, can counter this challenge. Research from Kantar suggests that sports fans are using a second screen to broaden their viewer experience by looking at things that complement the content on their primary screen. Andy supported this with his opinion that the right sort of content on the second screen (with the appropriate tone and relevance) can serve to enhance the viewer experience.

So, the question at hand – are the fans driving innovation in live sport?  The verdict is no – broadly, the fans are not driving innovation. According to Kantar’s research, 76% believe that we have the right level of innovation. 11% feel that it’s insufficient while 14% believe that there is too much innovation. The majority of sports fans seem satisfied with the way things are. Worth keeping in mind though, Andy pointed out that the people who believe that there is the right amount of innovation are not necessarily resistant to seeing more. He also noted that these same people have accepted previous iterations of innovation that have now become the norm. Simply put, they just aren’t desperate to see more. Saying that though, the bottom line is if it is the right thing (i.e. it doesn’t distract, detract and it complements the viewing experience) it will be adopted.

Image credit: BBC

Curious to know more? If you are, hear what Andy and the rest of the panel had to say in the full webcast, now available on-demand.

Watch now



4 Aug 2020