Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) recently announced that it will be leveraging its communications platform — Teams app — to provide National Football league (NFL) fans with enriched experiences during games.
The exciting part of watching any live sporting event is the presence of the spectators and the atmosphere in the stadium.
However, NFL 2020 will be conducted this year without spectators present at the stadium due to the coronavirus outbreak. Markedly, the NFL 2020 commences from Sep 10, 2020 and will go on until the Super Bowl in February next year.
Microsoft Teams Meetings will enable a few selected fans to join and be seen at LED screens set up in the stadiums called Fan Mosaic during key games. This Fan Mosaic will also be shown on the live broadcast of the game.
Fans will be selected by each of the home teams and the selected fans will be invited to join the Teams Meetings and will be provided with a dual screen display. One display will be broadcasting the game, while the other one will show the other fans in Gallery view.
In this coronavirus crisis triggered spectator-less sports era, sports organisations are looking at newer ways to provide fans with immersive experiences. Thereby, tech companies are making the use of evolving technologies to transform fan experience by augmenting engagement methodologies and rendering it more immersive.
Microsoft’s innovative sports solutions poises the company well in gaining momentum and boost confidence in the stock among the investor community. Notably, shares of Microsoft have 30.2% in the year-to-date period compared with the industry’s rise of 28.3%.
Innovative Solutions For NFL Fans
Apart from being displayed on LED screens, Teams app will capture each fan audio feed and blend it with crowd noise use it for each stadium on a customised basis. The touchdown celebrations are also being overhauled.
By introducing the Bud Light Showtime cam, players can celebrate touchdown with the Fan Mosaic that will automatically appear at each of the end zones.
To enable NFL staff to work remotely, the Teams app will help staff to work on reporting, document collaboration and enable to conform to the League and gameday protocols.
Microsoft has been associated with NFL for almost seven years now. NFL uses Microsoft Surface devices to run gameday and business operations. The company’s Surface devices are being utilized by NFL officials for game day preparations and for coaching at the club level.
Abundant Growth Opportunities Bode Well
With live sporting events’ trend disturbed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the sporting events are getting a digital reimagining. This has resulted in higher adoption of video communications, AI, analytics, cloud, and other such innovative technologies.
Per a Research and Markets report, worldwide global video conferencing market is estimated to reach $9.6 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 9.9% from 2020 to 2024.
Microsoft Teams app is fast gaining subscribers which is helping it to strengthen its position in the video conferencing market against the likes of Zoom Video Communications (ZM - Free Report) , Slack and Cisco’s Webex. The rapid increase in subscribers can be attributed to coronavirus-led stay-at-home, work-from-home, and online learning wave.
Further, increasing presence in the sports industry (like the NFL deal), which is undergoing rapid transformation, is likely to add more subscribers.
Apart from NFL, the company also partnered with National Basketball Association (NBA) and soccer giant Real Madrid to help in their digital transformation acceleration.
These client wins augur well for Microsoft’s top line over the long haul and strengthen its competitive position in the sports industry. Microsoft currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Tech Majors Focus on Digital Overhaul of Sports
Technology is disrupting sports industry. Increasing proliferation of AI, ML, and sports analytics to harness the power of on-field and off-field data to boost player and fan experience has lured tech bigwigs in this space.
Per Mordor Intelligence data, AI market pertaining to sports domain is projected to witness a CAGR of 28.7% between 2019 to 2025. Also, MarketsandMarkets data estimates sports analytics market to witness a CAGR of 22% from 2019 to 2024.
On the heels of aforementioned growth prospects, Intel (INTC - Free Report) , International Business Machines (IBM - Free Report) and Amazon are also leaving no stone unturned to strengthen their presence in the digital overhaul of sports industry.
IBM recently collaborated with United States Tennis Association (USTA) to leverage the AI capabilities of Watson to provide its fans with an interactive online experience to enjoy US Open 2020 off-site.
Moreover, Intel is already working with European soccer clubs like Arsenal and Chelsea along with Major League Basketball (MLB) to create immersive digital experiences for fans.
Amazon also has partnership with NFL for generating deeper insights into player injuries and improving player safety by utilizing Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) AI and cloud capabilities. Recently, AWS announced that it will introduce six new statistics for NFL 2020’s kick-off game. This will help fans to get a more information of the game and regarding individual players and teams’ performances.
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