A lot of the supply side in the sports media industry relies on creating a new normal.
Take your regular run-of-the-mill football broadcast these days, and what you expect from it. You’ll expect a certain level of statistical analysis, a certain level of graphical sheen, a certain amount of camera angles, a certain picture definition etc.
Each of these things that you take for granted was once an innovation – sold into the broadcast industry by the plethora of companies that exist up and down the value chain.
Innovate, sell in, normalise. Repeat.
When I started at Opta back in 2009, we dreamed of the level of data analysis that we now take for granted becoming commonplace. We used to talk about it in the office. We knew if could be, we just needed some others to believe as much as we did.
And it happened gradually. A small deal here, a freebie there, a growing and increasingly influential twitter account highlighting the fan’s appetite. And then once one or two of the media guys, online and broadcast especially, started to use it, it got interesting to a critical mass. And now, it’s the minimal viable standard for sports media, at least where data is concerned. It’s completely and totally normal. You’d question where it was if it was missing.
And the same happened on the graphics side with brilliant, innovative companies like RedBee, DeltaTre and VizRT all innovating, drip-feeding and hoping to become the new normal. And the same happened with slow-mo cameras, and with online match centres, and iOS apps. And so on and so forth.
So, what’s next? Who knows? But you can be sure that somewhere, in offices up and down the land, there are groups of people all helping to work out what the new normal will be, and working out how to convince others that they’re right.