Technology & the Future of Sports Entertainment

One of the hottest topics in sports entertainment today is betting. In places like North America, betting markets are starting to open up to the public. And as more offers from sportsbooks are made available, many fans are placing their first moneyline and prop bets. This has marked one of the biggest changes in sports entertainment from a fan perspective.

But it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how sports entertainment is developing today. Thanks to innovations in technology, fan engagement continues to diversify. A key growth area is thought to be the propagation of live betting features, something only now possible due to advancements in mobile technology and network connections.

Here we will dive into some of the most unique sports entertainment trends driven by tech innovations below.

Live Betting

As mentioned above, one of the most popular features on offer from leading sportsbooks is the live betting market. This lets bettors place wagers as a game unfolds live. They’re often available for the very next play, like whether or not a penalty will lead to a goal or even how fast a pitcher will throw the next ball.

 The emphasis is on immediate outcomes. Rather than wait for a whole game to unfold, a bettor can ‘read the field’ as the game unravels. This lets them make smarter decisions. For example, if a top player leaves the field due to an injury, that will greatly affect the likelihood of other outcomes in the game. This makes it a uniquely engaging form of entertainment for sports fans who must adapt on the fly to shifting conditions.

Computer Picks

Similar to live betting, technology is also changing how bettors choose their favorites. Computer picks are a way for sportsbooks to select a favorite based on data mining. The idea is to let an AI-driven program comb through previous stats, current data, and other information to forecast an outcome that’s purely objective. 

In other words, it removes any need for human input or speculation. Computer picks are popular for this reason and you can find them on offer from certain oddsmakers, as well as from private companies that charge a subscription for their usage.

VR Taking Fans to the Front Row

Clearly, technology is influencing sports betting culture and steering new forms of entertainment for fans. But some forms of technology are pushing the boundaries even further—and they’re heading into fully virtual territory.

Recently, the NBA signed a multi-year deal with Meta to stream live games on their VR platform. This lets subscribers sit courtside at live games through a headset, bringing them face-to-face with the league’s top stars at the Meta Horizon Worlds virtual arena.

 At the moment, not all regular-season games are available for VR. Instead, the NBA is curating a list of competitive and big-name games to stream. Elsewhere, association football leagues are trialing the streaming of select games in different metaverses. One of the first of these was the 2022 match between Fiorentina and AC Milan which was broadcast in VR to football fans tuning in to the Italian Nemesis metaverse. 

A New Fantasy Format

While VR will take fans courtside, blockchain technology will transform the fantasy league industry. For those who don’t follow DeFi topics, blockchain is a type of digital verification process that’s driving the Web3 boom. It’s the basis for both cryptocurrency and NFTs—and it’s changing the fantasy sports experience. 

NFTs, in particular, are set to revolutionize how both fantasy season and DFS players build their lineups. Some companies are crafting fantasy formats that let users trade NFTs that represent players. These NFTs are updated with real-world stats which affect how the fantasy competition pans out. But they can also be ‘kept’ as assets by winning players at the end of the competition period.

This infuses a collectible element into a fantasy league setup, letting players remember their most successful seasons fondly.

Richard Maxwell

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