New technology like VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) will never surpass the feeling of live events but it will bring new opportunities to create relationships between the sports fans and sports teams, believes Kenny Lauer, Vice President of Marketing and Digital at Golden State Warriors.
The sports will always remain the same. Or is it so? Technology is changing also the world of sports. While participating in AT&T SHAPE Tech Expo I had a chance to hear the thoughts of Kenny Lauer who has led innovative and technology-driven marketing for the NBA basketball team Golden State Warriors. There wouldn’t be a better person to talk about how technology is shaping the future of sports than Kenny Lauer who says that Golden State Warriors is always trying to pioneer: trying to find new ways to create relationships and exploring the new kind of transmedia concepts.
Uniqueness of the live events never fades
Many people from the audience of AT&T Shape Expo were interested to hear if sports teams are worried that VR and AR are going to cannibalize the popularity of live events. Kenny like me believes that there is still something unique to have at the place experience. You can’t really high five your friends or have a hotdog with your goggles on. Also compared to movies the sports events are more interactive. People truly believe that they can affect the game by cheering for their team.
On field and behind the scenes experiences with VR
What VR could do is to bring fans closer to the game. VR can take the fans behind the scenes into the locker rooms or in the middle of the ongoing game at the field. VR can create more intimate feeling with the real sounds from the field that you can’t hear if you’re sitting only few rows up from the court. There are also interesting experiments with the VR where viewers can have a feeling being the actual basketball.
Broadening the fan base
VR could also bring new fans to the sport teams: fans that aren’t so educated or fans that are more interested about the entertainment side of the sport. For the fans who are not so educated, knowledge about the specific sport could be increased with the hotspots etc. which are explaining the rules and happenings of the game.
Future of Virtual Reality
When trying to guess when VR is going to have a prime time status Kenny Lauer says that he believes that it’s going to take another 2 or 5 years or so. He thinks that the biggest issue is still technology. The VR cameras are expensive and lot of investments is needed to produce good content. Technology should be more accessible for larger groups and content has to bring value. I believe that we are now at the point where television used to be in its early stages. Many VR content is still “nice to experience” but doesn’t bring so much value for the viewer.
Kenny Lauer emphasized that the sport business is basically experience business. In fact, almost every business nowadays is experience business. That’s why Mr. Lauer says that you have to first decide what is the experience you want to create to your customers and then choose the medium. VR and AR are just mediums. Experience is about the people.