As major US sports look to resume action this month, the attention of the sports betting sector is focused sharply on how the business will respond to rising demand for its products. Tackling this issue was a Stats Perform-sponsored panel gathered at this week’s SBC Digital Summit North America titled ‘After the Hiatus’.
Among those to speak was Scott Kaufman-Ross, the NBA’s SVP Head of Fantasy and Gaming, who shared some of the innovative solutions that the league is currently working on ahead of its hotly anticipated return this month.
Talking in more detail about the return to play, he told delegates to expect a “unique scenario” when the league restarts in the next two weeks. He explained: “For those who may not be aware, the NBA’s going to resume on July 30. We have 22 teams heading down to Orlando that are going to play on Disney’s Wide World of Sports. It’s going to be affectionately called the NBA Bubble.
“There won’t be fans in the building. It’s going to be a closed campus and there is a more than 100-page security manual and safety protocols that are going to be followed. And really the challenge for us is how we make that viewing experience unique and authentic without the fans in the building. And so there’s going to be a tremendous amount of experimentation that we’re going to be undergoing and there’s a lot of things happening in the lab right now that we’ll be announcing over the next couple of weeks.”
Outlining some of those ideas, he said: “A couple of things that our Commissioner has already mentioned previously – we’re going to have opportunities for different camera angles. When you don’t have fans in the first couple of rows it gives you a little bit more freedom to have cameras in certain places and so we’ll have a little bit more access to the players and the unique dynamics there.”
According to Kaufman-Ross, players will also be more heavily mic’d up. “You’ll be able to hear more of what’s going on the court and we think that’s going to bring an authentic element that brings fans a little bit closer to the action,” he said.
Fan-focused enhancements are also being considered off the field of play. “We’re going to be experimenting with different types of broadcast – more personalized streams, more overlays with statistics, he advised. “And that’s a lot of what’s in the lab right now. How do we create a very different viewing experience that keeps the fan close to the game in an environment where they can’t physically be in the building?”
Joining Kaufman-Ross on the panel were Brian Carroll, SVP Global Media Distribution, LPGA; Norb Gambuzza, SVP Media Business Development, PGA Tour; Scott Kaufman-Ross, VP Head of Fantasy and Gaming, NBA; Tim Clark, SVP and Chief Digital Officer, NASCAR; and Steve Byrd, Head of Global Strategic Partnerships, Sportradar. Moderating was ESPN reporter Doug Kezirian.
SBC Digital Summit North America recreates many of the key features of a physical trade show, providing attendees with an opportunity to learn, make new connections, and view the latest products from the comfort of their own home or office.
Running alongside the conference content is a program of themed networking sessions, while attendees will also have further opportunities to connect at workshops and in the 20-booth interactive exhibition hall where major international suppliers will showcase their latest innovations.
SBC Digital Summit North America is running this week until July 16. To register or obtain more information visit the event’s official website.