Execs Talk TV at the SBJ NeuLion Sports Media & Technology Conference

SportsBusiness Journal NeuLion Sports Media & Technology Conference
From October 5- 6, 2016, the SportsBusiness Journal NeuLion Sports Media & Technology Conference was held in in Manhattan Beach, California. Industry leaders from networks, professional teams, and online companies gathered to “discuss and debate the latest developments and emerging market trends.”

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.”

On the first day, Los Angeles Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took part in an interview entitled “Insights from a Tech Giant, Team Owner and Philanthropist.”

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.

On day two, Jeff Shell, Chairman of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, said that “the movie business is 10 years behind the sports business” in regards to methods for viewing, during a panel with his brother Dan Shell the Vice President for IMG College.

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.

eSports came up again, this time at a forum dedicated entirely to it, featuring Dave Rosenberg, Chief Strategic Officer, Client Services, for GMR Marketing.

“Targeting eSports segments is like Clue,” Rosenberg said. “You want to be efficient with your [money] and find Professor Plum with the knife in the parlor."

The media conference appeared to be informative and successful overall. Videos can be seen here.

Author: Brian Cameron

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