Kevin Maney Strategy + Business Category Design

The future of sports fandom

By Kevin Maney

Strategy + Business

The way most people consume professional sports hasn’t changed much since the 1960s. It’s still chiefly a live, one-way, linear broadcast to some kind of screen. Turn on a game, make some nachos, and watch what comes at you.

But just wait until you can go as an avatar to a Chicago Bears game. You might even get a virtual Buona Italian beef sandwich and feel like you’re at Soldier Field without freezing your face off.

We’re entering a new era in which we’ll unhook sports from its TV traditions and integrate it into more parts of our lives. It’s a change that would’ve come over time but has been greatly accelerated by the pandemic. Shortened seasons, canceled games, weird playoff formats, and empty stadiums have motivated professional sports and their fans to experiment. And some of it is going to stick.