Industry Innovations in Entertainment, Media, and Sports

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

Having been invited to attend a “Start Up Boot Camp” to participate as a judge and mentor, from that experience several new companies’ ideas and technologies may play a significant role in the future of industry innovations in entertainment, media, and sports.  The event was hosted at the Beach Club in Santa Monica, California by, which is based in Melbourne, Australia, but with partnerships and new start-ups all around the world.  It was an enjoyable event and fantastic to see young new start-ups the world over trying to make their way in America and beyond. 

Here, this column will highlight three of the companies that presented and what they want to bring to the proverbial industry table.  For one, all of these companies are looking for ways to innovate in how sports and entertainment fans consume data and information, specifically, music and sports entertainment and broadcasts through media applications and platforms.  Next, two questions arise with their introduction into the marketplace: (1) how will the existing industry players adapt (or not), and (2) are there copyright concerns, that can be navigated through partnerships?  Each start-up presents their own excitement, and challenges. 

1. Champions Round

Champions Round is all about “micro fantasy” sports.  The idea stems from the realization that attention spans wane as long seasons of fantasy sports continue.  This occurs when it becomes clear that the team you are managing had a bad draft or is too far behind in points to make the playoffs. 

Micro fantasy sports cuts the seasons of each league into four equal parts (round one, two, three, and final) where each round allows the fantasy team owner to compete throughout the season.  The idea is a fascinating one for fans of fantasy sports, but also for advertisers looking to capitalize on more eyeballs viewing their content.  Champions Round has an experienced team behind the operation and is currently available in your application store.    

2. ClipAisle

A captivating application that crowdsources fan recorded views of concerts that are produced using algorithms into a final consumable product.  The videos give fans, music labels, artists, and producers different views of the concert experience.  The application could also be used for sports games and other entertainment.   

High-end camera technology is already in the hands of the cell phone user and of course such fan-recording reduces costs of producing a show or video.  Internet technology (WiFi) is less of a concern here because the videos are not being live-streamed—they are recorded in the application, uploaded, and then crowdsourced for mixing, distribution, and consumption.  The very interesting and important caveat here is who owns the intellectual property (copyright) and will music labels, artists, and producers, or even fans, be willing to share the recordings, rights, and licensing monies?  However, industry players might be wise to look at the ClipAisle application as a driver for additional experiences and revenue.     

3. Kingmaker

A player-mounted camera that allows fans to see the game from the player’s perspective.  Imagine a star-running back, or punt returner, or fast base stealer on first base running toward the endzone or next bag and getting a first-person view, while watching from a major broadcast, personal channel of the athlete, social media, and/or a gaming network like Amazon-owned Twitch.  Of course, the same questions arise here as above regarding copyrighted broadcasts and whether existing players will see the technology as potential collaborators or threats. 

A collaborative relationship may be the best path forward here because both “views” (traditional and first-person) need each other.  Too much of one view is boring (or hard to follow) for the consumer and the reason why fans are continuing to look to connect with their favorite athletes and teams, directly.  There are two advancements that make Kingmaker especially appetizing, the introduction of 5G technology to allow for higher quality live-feeds and the push to allow non-professional student-athletes to get paid through endorsement opportunities.  If an athlete has a direct feed, advertisement, endorsement, and sponsorship opportunities are created.  This tech also presents additional challenges and opportunities for safety and compliance in terms of privacy (play calling), copyright infringement, and concussions (imagine a harsh hit being seen from the first-person perspective), which will only increase the call for further safety.   

Overall, the above three examples of industry disrupters create two opportunities (and simultaneous challenges): (1) a focus on the experience economy and getting fans what they want, a more involved experience, and (2) creating the potential for cutting out the middle man in transactions.  Each of the above start-ups also create opportunities for gamification and advertising, e.g., engagement and revenue producing endeavors. 

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