Shortly before the event, the SBJ released new research which found a strength in live sport sports viewing: “Last year, 93 of TV’s top 100-rated shows were live sports programs. Ten years earlier, in 2005, live sports accounted for only 14 of the top 100.”
Ballmer advocated for technological advances in online viewing.
"Taking linear broadcasts online won't change things,” Ballmer said. “Technology will make [the] experience more intriguing and interesting."
He later suggested that a type of television program that showed a basketball game’s perspective from a player on the court could be available in a matter of years, enabling the viewer to see the game “as Chris Paul.”
Steve Bornstein, Chairman for Activision Blizzard, discussed the rise of eSports and predicted “the death of the bundle” in 50 years.
“eSports is bigger than action sports,” Ballmer said. “Call of Duty [has] over 30 million monthly users.”
In video remarks, Ballmer explained his support for the growing genre, which he described as the “only property that can challenge soccer globally.”
“As Wayne Gretzky said, ‘I’m skating to where the puck’s going to be.’ There’s huge consumption, it’s worldwide, and it’s committed,” he said.
A session later in the morning called “A Spectator No More: Changing Sports Through Immersive Experiences” involved discussion of how virtual reality could impact sports.
“VR changes the vocabulary for the narrative of sports storytelling,” a participant stated.