There are countless amazing aspects of any sporting event: the buzzing excitement upon entering a ballpark or stadium, the athletic talent on display, the competitive and determined natures a high intensity game inspires (the list goes on). But there is one component of sports that we should be admiring in particular, and that the media should be better utilizing: the fans.
A great deal of where professional sports are today can be contributed to the passionate, die-hard fans supporting their favorite teams and athletes. Athletes garner their fame largely due to their dedicated fan-base, and it is those fans that create such a “hype” surrounding each of their favorite athlete’s games.
I remember the very first basketball games I attended with my dad in Madison Square Garden to cheer on the Knicks. Never failing to beg him to buy me an obscenely large bag of cotton candy (the overpriced one with the ridiculous looking hat attached, of course), and always on my feet booing the opposing team’s free throws to the best of my ability, being a part of the crowd was incredible. Decked out in gear, face paint, and bearing signs, the fan support was insane. Everyone loved cheering his or her team on towards victory.
Now fast-forward to the arrivals of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. A fan’s current experience is largely dominated by posting endless amounts of videos and photos on social media — sharing their personal experiences with the rest of the world. If you’re at a baseball game, why just have the pride you show in your team by screaming at the top of your lungs limited to the people in the seats around you? With the resources available, why not also broadcast it to your family, friends, and the rest of the world?
This is exactly the kind of behavior every fan now participates in, but what is the next step in taking the game-day experience to a whole new level? Answer: actually incorporating the fans into the game broadcasts. Fans are already promoting their team spirit in thousands of different ways, and they are capturing it on their mobile devices. If the media simply taps into this user generated content that is circulating social media sites, and gives fans an outlet to share their experiences with the world, then there is the birth of an incredibly different and exciting type of audience and visual experience in the world of sports.