Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Future And Not Future Of Sports, Or The Goggles, They Do Some Things

Well, Not Until You Pay
In my day job as a marketing and advertising pro, I spend a lot of mental cycles on What Happens Next, because being able to predict such things makes the people that do the paying happy. Or just intimidated enough to keep you around. I'm not really sure which, and it doesn't really matter that much. Just keep the checks coming. Papa needs a new pair of everything.

Anyway, this leads me to reading a lot of stuff about the Internet of Things, which is what people call it when lots of stuff is connected to the Internet, and starts communicating with each other. (By the way, with massive, life-threatening security gaps that will feed every reactionary newscast for the next five years. Your older relatives will be more scared of this than they are of a transgender abortionist taking Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court. But I digress.)

Now, two big things from the sports world come with the IoT. The first is the rise of e-sports, which is where people who are not athletes do non-athletic things that mirror real sports thanks to the use of drone or video game technology. Lots of people think that is going to be the next new big thing, and if it is, feel free to just pack your bags and start your new life in Cuba, because the whole hemisphere will have officially circled the drain.

I get why people watch sports. It's something you did as a kid, then you found some other way to enjoy it, like dating or nerdery or gambling or jihad against those rat bastards who root for Dallas in anything. But none of that -- nope, not even the hating of Dallas -- has anything to do with watching other people play video games. If you like this, you are wrong. Period. End of statement. Nothing else. Nope. Moving on to something that actually might make some sense.

And that would be... virtual reality, or VR, becoming part of the sporting mix. Imagine, if you will, getting a headset that lets you see the game from the front row of an NBA court. Maybe for a small fee when you enter the arena, and find out that your seats in the nosebleed section just aren't that much fun. Or for just the fourth quarter, for giving up your name to a credit card company in the concourse, or a car dealership for a test drive. Oh, and the headset allows you to rewind and see the play again if you missed it, a Terminator-style heads up display with all of the nerd statistics you could possibly want, real-time Tweets on things like injury updates, and so on, and so on...

Lots of possibilities, really.

Along with no one being in the arena at all, of course, because the goggles, they do nothing for the post-game traffic jam, the line for the restroom, or being surrounded by meatheads who might be yelling out their favorite statistics from their own goggles.

But honestly, that's what could happen with the Internet of Things, ubiquitous technology, affluent audiences that are good with tech and advanced services, and so on, and so on.

Oh, and since there's real money in all of this?

Going to happen sooner than you think.

As in... a couple of years from now, or sooner.

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