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Live sports has forever connected fans around a passionate shared experience. And yet, how we engage with our favorite players, share our passion for the game, and interact with brands around sports has changed dramatically over the past 25 years.
When I was growing up in the early 90s, most of the live sports experience was centered around broadcast TV, watching the game at home with friends and family, or the few times a year we could afford it we would head down to the Kingdome and watch the Seahawks or Mariners.
Sure, you could listen to the radio pre-game, watch highlights on TV and read pre-game stories, but the closest you could really connect with your favorite players was to stand in line at the stadium on game day and hope you would be selected for an autograph.
Ah the good old days, when Seattle had a basketball team. Trends such as augmented reality AR and virtual reality VR are also reshaping the way fans interact — from VR experiences at the stadium to new apps that allow for VR group viewing similar to multiplayer video games.
Fans were beyond excited to tweet to Bryce to ask questions and engage with him in real time.
Most of the fans that tweeted in that day probably never had a chance to meet Bryce in person, but they felt an incredible connection that would not have been possible before the rise of social media.
With live content platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Snapchat, fans are instantly connected to the teams and athletes they love.
With one push of a button, players and teams can go live with their own content from the locker room, the gym, or even from home — giving fans a closer connection than ever to their lives on and off the field.
Turn Up the Volume Sports leagues and teams are capitalizing on this trend. Today live social content across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter have become interwoven into the in-game experience, and sports teams and brands are seeing the conversational volume with fans go up as a result.
While traditional media platforms continuing to see a negative dip in revenue growth, sponsorship of live sports content is booming. Sports sponsorships also increased 4. From watching games on-demand to consuming shorter, snackable content on platforms like Snapchat, the way fans consume sports is rapidly changing.
This season Facebook will live stream college sports , while also featuring NFL game recaps and highlights through a deal with the NFL.
The Shift to Live Content and Storytelling The smartest sports marketers are pivoting as fast as they can to not only sponsor on-demand and VR content, but also tap into live content and storytelling in a bigger way.
Now imagine when you have that exclusive branded filter available, and you promote it on the jumbotron to 70, screaming fans who are able to simply point their phone up and engage with the content; a new level of virality is upon us. With platforms and content strategies rapidly evolving, traditional media no longer holds the same relevance as it once did for sports fans.
As we look to the future, the way fans connect to their favorite players will continue to evolve, where the players themselves will take more ownership over their own content. Case in point, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who has the biggest following on social media among NFL players, recently launched a new app called TraceMe providing fans with an inside look into life as QB, father and husband.
If the content is high quality enough to drive fans in that direction, the player will then have control over the media rights; hello brands, goodbye middlemen.
Everyone from individual athletes and teams to brands are going live with content to bring their fans closer to the game, while creating new experiences in partnership with tech players.
His favorite teams and player will interact with him in a totally different way. For fans in the future, connecting with your favorite players will no longer just be a dream.