Football

Future of sports fan experience?

Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT) February 23, 2015
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Top English Premier League teams now regularly travel on summer tours to Asia, Australia and North America to play friendlies. These pre-season events can translate to new commercial partners and marketing opportunities for the teams. HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images
Concurrently the NFL has made annual clashes at London's Wembley stadium a regular fixture on the football calendar. This expansion overseas is a sharply calculated move by the world's richest sports league, explains NFL UK director Alistair Kirkwood. Nicky Hayes/NFL UK - Pool /Getty Images
But for more international fans unable to make the journey to the UK, Kirkwood says technology is the way to engage with fans.
"It's mainly going to be digital. There's a ton of engagement that we do both through social, through community and other aspects," he says. "Specifically for further flung territories, the main engagement is through media, television."
During popular global sporting events like the World Cup, many sports facilities offer events for fans to enjoy live games in a stadium environment. Fans watch the Germany-Ghana World Cup match at the Alte Foersterei FC Union stadium on June 21, 2014 in Berlin. The stadium allowed fans to bring 800 sofas to watch the World Cup matches on a giant monitor. Sean Gallup/Bongarts/Getty Images/file
Sports fan experience apps like South African startup Fanmode are trying to use "Internet of Things" tech applications to bridge the distance between international fans and their clubs. Courtesy Fanmode
Fanmode co-founder Neven Murugan says the current sports fan experience stops in front of television screens but through his company's app and wearable tech, international fans can have a stadium experience too. Courtesy Fanmode
Fanmode, which wants to make money through sponsorship and in-app ads, received a boost last August when it raised $2.4 million in seed funding from angel investors in South Africa and Sweden. Its initial focus is UK football but it also wants to branch out to other sports.
Courtesy Fanmode