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BUSINESS PRODUCTS & SERVICES | Consulting & Outsourcing / Management & Strategy Consulting

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Seed VC | Alive

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About Sports Innovation Lab

Sports Innovation Lab is a global sports market research and advisory firm that helps sports organizations understand who their fans are and how technology is changing their behavior.

Sports Innovation Lab Headquarter Location

200 Portland Street

Boston, Massachusetts, 02114,

United States

Latest Sports Innovation Lab News

The Top SportsBiz Observations From 2021: Part Two

Dec 28, 2021

Welcome back to the exclusive Forbes SportsMoney countdown of the Top SportsBiz Observations from 2021. In Part One, I shared how this year was a turning point for women’s sports, featuring record increases in viewership, increased coverage by media outlets, and fast-tracked investment by major brands. ILLUSTRATION - A television viewer reading tweets of wheelchair basketball player Annika Zeyen on ... [+] her smartphone while watching the Olympic Games on her television in Hanover, Germany, 18 August 2016. Tweeting, chatting, shopping, writing mails: For many television viewers, it already became normal using a smartphone or tablet while watching TV. TV channels and also advertisers already adress and use the second screen. PHOTO: JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images) picture alliance via Getty Images In Part Two, we’re digging deeper with a technology-based lesson that my company Sports Innovation Lab owns heavy research data on. This area is highly requested from clients at some of the most well-known brands and leagues in the world of sports, and I’m sharing a sneak peek with you so you can succeed in 2022. Co-Watching Behaviors Stay Steady Co-watching is the act of two or more fans digitally and remotely watching, participating in second screen activity, or otherwise streaming the content they want, together on the same digital platform. A number of companies, technologies, and platforms enable fans to do this, with notable examples including Twitch, NBC Sports, ESPN, and Peacock. During the pandemic, an estimated 25 million U.S. adults co-watched content with people outside their home via internet-connected screens - and that’s a key indicator for the future of live sports, where a sense of unity amongst fans is important as leagues expand interest globally, far away from where the games are actually being played. The past year continued to demonstrate that co-watching can be to live sports what ecommerce has been to shopping. We know this because an ease in COVID restrictions and a return of fans to stadiums did not  halt the momentum of co-watching behaviors that defined 2020. MORE FOR YOU A Space to Communicate Interestingly, esports is providing a major clue on how to maximize co-watching and take it to extreme new levels. For every parent wondering how their child could be entertained spending countless hours playing Fortnite, there is a gamer that is addicted to the platform as a means to hanging out with their friends. Sports leagues, for their part, are now recognizing this and integrating technologies that mirror what has made esports a $1.08 billion market that increased by 50% YoY. Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch, for example, has become integral to Amazon Prime Video’s growth strategy for Thursday Night Football viewership. By promoting channels of NFL broadcasters there to “hang out” interactively during a game while also talking X’s and O’s, Twitch is reducing the barrier between the NFL, its personalities, and its fans in a way that gets people involved even more than the revolutionary Manningcast has brought revived interest in Monday Night Football. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 11: Sergio Cuculiza explores the metaverse at the opening of ... [+] "Inftspaces Presents An Immersive Gallery Experience in both the Physical and Metaphysical World" art exhibit at Innerspace Gallery on November 11, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images) Getty Images In the pending Metaverse, a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with others in a computer-generated environment, we have the potential to come together from anywhere in the world and simulate togetherness. This behavior takes life and furthers an ongoing cultural shift Sports Innovation Lab is noticing from straight content consumption, to a consumption-participation balance. Two-way interaction in a virtual space like this was accelerated in COVID. If Zoom single-handedly transformed work, co-watching platforms are moving the needle for sports. From FaceTime to Houseparty to LiveLike, COVID brought comfort to the masses for doing things together in a virtual space. As that familiarity matures, I’m more and more bullish on co-watching in 2022 and beyond. Stay tuned as I continue this Forbes SportsMoney series of the Top SportsBiz Observations from 2021, coming back soon with Part 3 that will discuss Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), the biggest shakeup from this year in the business of college and sports in general.

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