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Olympic Games: Could postponement be beneficial for the sports tech & media industry?

Several media partners are to defer their fiscal outlooks until 2021 as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was confirmed as postponed earlier this year.

From Football and Tennis to Cricket and the Olympics, this year the sports industry has seen the effects of what a global pandemic can do to our ever so growing love of sport.

On July 19, 2019, sporting fans were treated to a outpour of sporting spectacles From a history making first Cricket World Cup win for England, to Lewis Hamilton winning a record sixth British Grand Prix title at Silverstone and watching Novak Djokovic’s five-set Wimbledon final victory over Rodger Federer, could have had you locked at your TV screens for 24 hours.

Summer 2019 in hindsight exhibited the capability for competing broadcasters to deliver coverage from concurrent major sporting events after an estimated nine million tuned into BBC’s free-to-air (FTA) coverage of the Djokovic-Federer phenomenon. The likes of Sky Sports, and commercial FTA broadcaster Channel 4 saw 2.8 million viewers fixed themselves on the Formula one coverage and 8.3 million viewers invested in the England-New Zealand epic encounter.

Summer 2020 was looking to also be a festival of nail-biting events. With Tokyo’s Olympic and Paralympic Games and the first multi-national UEFA European Championships hosted by 12 different cities across the continent. Unfortunately, with Covid-19 traveling across the globe it saw all major sporting event and fixtures come to a halt causing a backlog of events to be spread out over the course of 2021.

We are now only 10 days away from what would have been the opening ceremony to the Olympic Games although the present health crisis could not have been predicted it means a host of broadcasters and advertising contracts have now been deferred until 2021, but with some hope a 12-month delay of the games could see huge new potential opportunities to enhance the broadcasting of the Olympics.

Already the games will showcase a range of broadcast innovations. Alibaba, a huge Chinese ecommerce, and US technology company Intel will take this time to further implant its OBS cloud service which ‘Encourages remote production among broadcasters and will help streamline the distribution of video content to media outlets”. The OBS cloud can be downloaded by broadcasters via an app and can help ethicise the delivery of the games digital content and allow virtual reality (VR) to be shown live. A full production slate in ultra-high definition (UHD) was also embedded for the summer 2020 games.

Chris Tung, Alibaba’s Chief marketing officer spoke of that matter and insisted new technology was being explored. Innovations in the pipeline included a venue stimulation platform, which could reduce the risk and cost of physical travel and venue survey during planning in host cities. Touchless experience for fans around the world is also being trialled.

All this new technology could benefit massively on making fans and consumers feel safe in returning to stadiums. Broadcasters know that creating that emotional connection at home that you would get at a stadium is paramount and now Is the time to produce ideas and opportunities that could increase viewing on digital platforms.

Author: Maddison Taylor