The tennis live stream experience is at the forefront of the sports media world right now, with the first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open, in full swing. Being the first grand slam of the year gives extra significance to the Australian Open, and this year the tournament’s organizers have stepped up their fan engagement efforts with a new strategy - the opportunity for fans to purchase non-fungible tokens that automatically update with metadata collected during the matches.
One of the biggest new trends in digital technology is the Metaverse. The best tech minds have been working on creating virtual worlds for a while now. From Fortnite to Decentraland to Facebook’s recent announcement of Meta. So far most of the developments in this area have only really interested other tech enthusiasts - but the rise of non-fungible tokens changed the game in a number of different sectors - and the world of tennis live streams is among them.
What are non-fungible tokens?
Non-fungible tokens (or NFT’s) got their traction in the art world, allowing artists to sell and collect pieces of digital art with verified ownership. Soon enough they made their way into the sports media world with some of the leaders of the sports industry offering NFT collectibles in place of more traditional physical copies.
What do non-fungible tokens have to do with tennis live streams?
The Australian Open’s organisers have partnered with Decentraland to ‘mint’ 6,776 ‘art balls’ with a 19x19 cm plot of tennis court surface randomly assigned to each of them. Any time a match-winning shot lands in that plot, during any match of the 2022 Australian Open, the relevant NFT will update in real-time with match and ball tracking data, just like you’ll find in OSAI’s tennis live streams.
And that’s not all - the Australian Open also boasts a metaverse experience. Now fans from around the world can look around a digital recreation of the grounds in Melbourne and speak to players and other fans.
Both initiatives reflect the organizers’ commitment to a digital transformation and innovative use of digital technologies, as well as the organisers’ ambition of using innovation and platforms like tennis live streams to engage fans and drive growth. Digital technologies and AI are, after all, one of the hottest trends in sport - transforming fan engagement, sponsorship activations, and performance.
While the commercial details of the tokens minted and Metaverse experiences were not announced, it is clear that both required significant investment. Nevertheless, it is very likely to pay off in the long run, as it unlocks an opportunity for the global fandom to be more present and involved with the tournament in a way that goes beyond the traditional tennis live stream or TV broadcast.
Getting involved with tennis’ digital transformation
If digital transformation in sports media intrigues you, then you can get started right now, and lead the way for others. Bringing Metaverse experiences to fans is a complicated business - it requires creating a digital copy of your event space and, potentially, collecting tons of real-time data, including biometrics. This is a big investment of both time and money. In addition, fans must have access to some sort of virtual reality device to experience it. VR headsets are growing in popularity, but they are far from being mainstream yet.
However, there is a simpler and more cost-effective way to enhance your fan engagement through digital technology. Using Mixed Reality alongside a tennis live stream allows you to enhance the viewer’s experience, collect & visualize insights and really bring the match they’re watching to life. Mixed Reality is totally NFT-able, too - so the animations and creative visuals you use can be minted and - much like the non-fungible tokens being used at this year’s Australian Open - updated with insights in real-time.
The beauty of Mixed Reality is that it can be experienced on any device, allowing you to enhance the experience of a large number of fans worldwide.
Just like our tennis live streams, Mixed Reality experiences by OSAI are delivered to your viewers in real-time. Depending on the streaming platform and your ambitions, you can even launch an NFT action to select the graphics to be minted, based on fans’ requests.
When the first non-fungible token was minted back in May 2014, it wasn’t clear whether it was another tech gimmick or something that was going to transform the world as we know it. Now, nearly 8 years (and dozens of new digital coins and blockchain networks) later, it is clear that they are here to stay. In sports media, NFTs are particularly significant too. They open your sport and the online community of fans behind it up, making it more accessible and more enticing to both die-hard fans and new members, with particularly mind-blowing growth numbers among younger audiences. Their communities provide millions of people with ways to experience sporting events, collect memorabilia, and even earn money from their passions. In short, Mixed Reality technology like OSAI can help you maximize and deliver on your innovation strategy, increase ROIs, and increase your fan base.
Get in touch to transform your next tennis live stream into the Mixed Reality experience: