The ubiquity of the internet means it’s often challenging to talk about it with any real perspective. But there are some areas of life where the impact can be more easily identified. This is the case with sports fandom, because compared with other sectors, the sporting world was relatively slow to make the transition towards the digital sphere.
Today, however, the sports industry has fully embraced the power of the web — and that’s had a hugely positive influence on the fan experience, as we’ll see below.
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Following Teams Around The World
People from all corners of the globe have been supporting distant teams for decades. But, back then, it was a challenge. You might have been lucky to catch a highlight reel of your favorite team in action. But more likely than not, you’d have had to settle for simply reading the score in the newspaper.
Today, that’s all changed. No matter where a fan is located, they can keep up to date with their favorite teams in real-time. And the technology that facilitates this is so powerful that the experience can sometimes be as vivid as being in the stadium to watch the action live.
Connecting With Fellow Fans
Sports, like all the best things in life, is about connection. For many people, the most important element of following a sport like, say, soccer isn’t the winning or losing that takes place on the pitch; it’s sharing the experience with like-minded fans. Local fans have always been able to have this much-valued experience, but for distant fans, it was often missing. Thanks to the web, fans from all corners of the globe can connect with fellow fans, no matter the physical distance between them.
Game Day Hype
The internet has extended the excitement of game day. In the olden days, match day hype was largely non-existent or exclusively an individual experience. In the digital era, fans can become immersed in the sporting action well before kick off — even days before kick off. They may log in to their fantasy football account and pick their weekend team.
They may conduct some pre-match research and use a free betting offer like those found on FanDuel to back a team to win or player to score. They may listen to one of the many excellent sports podcasts. Whatever they do, they’re engaging with the sport during a time of the week that was historically sports-free. The internet has allowed fans to engage with their passion more frequently in a way that suits them.
Most sports fans look to the future, hoping for success in the year ahead. But a club’s history is also deeply important to passionate fans. It’s not just where the team is going that counts, but where it has been. It’s always been possible to dive into a club’s history, but it was much more difficult than it is today.
If a fan wanted to discover a club’s greatest players or greatest moments, they could simply head to YouTube, and they would have access to all the content they would ever need in a matter of seconds.
The internet also serves as a valuable educational tool for sports fans. They can use the web to learn in-depth stats, read predictions, and understand formations and other technical coaching details, which in turn helps them to understand and appreciate their passion more deeply.
This information was historically kept hidden away; you had to work, or be lucky, to obtain the information. But that’s no longer the case. The number of well-produced, technical pieces of content is going through the roof, allowing fans to learn more about their passion than they ever could before.
So, the web has been good for sports fans. And with the rise of the metaverse, VR, and augmented reality, it’s fair to say that the future of the internet will be additionally beneficial to sports fans, too.