Second ScreenAs technology changes by the minute, we in the sports industry need to constantly be aware of new trends that literally change day-to-day.  While “second screening” is not a new trend, it is certainly a booming one that affects teams, leagues, and broadcasters.  It has gotten to the point where many consumers are not interested in “just” watching a game on the television; they must be using their smartphones, tablets, and/or “pre-historic” laptops simultaneously.  Whether it is browsing Facebook or Twitter, watching another game, or reading up on the daily news, consumers constantly distract themselves from watching game telecasts, especially during commercials.

Some teams may question how they can protect against second screening during games, but that is the wrong question to ask.  Tech-savvy sports consumers are not going to stop dividing up their attention with the ever-growing technology options; therefore, the right question is how the team and/or the sports network can provide consumers with an interactive second-screen experience so fans will follow the team’s/network’s news and advertisers while consuming games on TV, as opposed to some unrelated distractor’s.

There are many recent examples of sports entities creating their own apps and online components for fans to interact with during broadcasts.  CBS enhanced their Super Bowl coverage with online streaming to “complement” the telecast.

[1] Senior VP & GM Jason Kint said of CBS’ strategy, since “everyone finds a way to be in front of the big screen, . . . we focused on how we could build the ultimate companion second-screen experience.”[2]  The network’s website featured social media feeds, game statistics, replays, and even a commercial archive making each ad available immediately after it played live.  Adding this enhanced website brought in an additional $10 to $12M in advertising dollars.

Taking a slightly different approach, the Big Ten launched a mobile app during the 2013 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.[3]  The app allowed purchasers (at a cost of $0.99) to gain access to behind-the-scenes footage, Twitter, photo galleries, and live radio broadcasts of every tournament game.

Another example includes Spike and Bellator MMA’s launch of its app for the iPad and iPhone, which may be the most innovative approach yet.  The app is intended to be used in concert with viewing Spike’s broadcast of Bellator MMA fights.[4]  The app allows users to act as the “4th judge” and score fights based on what they see on TV, with assistance from real-time statistics on the app itself.  In addition to the “game-changing” interactive features, the app also features career statistics and videos from fighters.

These second-screen options have been widely praised and accepted by each entity’s consumers because the entities knew what the consumers desired in a second-screen app and designed accordingly.  To join the party and enhance your consumers’ viewing experience (in addition to diverting their attention back to your product and your sponsors), teams and sports networks must determine what their fans and consumers want out of a second-screen application.  One way of doing so is surveying them about their second-screen tendencies, desires, and thoughts to measure potential features and cost.  Ask your Turnkey account rep today to help develop a design plus survey that will fit your needs!