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June 27, 2016
The future of fan engagement
By: Nick Millman

As Official Technology Partner to the RBS 6 Nations we work with Six Nations Rugby Ltd to bring fans a richer, more interactive experience.

Technology is a feature of almost all aspects of day-to-day life and we all live in an ‘always-on’, always-connected environment. We demand information instantaneously and expect to share it with others wherever we are. Sports fans are no exception, demanding high levels of mobility, accessibility and sociability whenever they interact with their favourite team or game.

As Official Technology Partner to the RBS 6 Nations, Accenture’s analytics experts have worked with Six Nations Rugby Limited and rugby legends, including Ben Kay, Nick Mallet, Scott Hastings and David Flatman, to help bring rugby fans closer to the game by creating a richer, more interactive experience.

Watching sport is no longer a linear experience

Technology in sport is no new-fangled notion, in fact it has been prevalent for some time. Hawk-Eye is routinely deployed at Wimbledon, cricket has the ‘Snickometer’ and the ‘hot spot’, and players in many sports don wearables which monitor performance, fitness and work rate. However, it is the use of technology in the fan experience where the real change can be seen.

The days when the sports fan watched from their armchair and followed linear TV coverage is long gone. Today’s sports fan engages in multiple dimensions across multiple platforms. They want second-screen coverage, they want deep information on their team and top players. They want to get as close to the action as they possibly can and with new digital technologies this is now possible.

Taking fan engagement to the next level

Accenture created the official mobile app for the RBS 6 Nations, available on android, Kindle and iOS platforms as well as the Apple Watch. The app delivers match data and analysis to fans providing a true second screen experience. Accenture is also exploring how wearables might be used to further engage fans, from delivering a prototype based on Google Glass to considering developing clothes which reflect the mood of the wearer.

For the 2016 season, Accenture created an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience, taking fans on a 3-D journey through a stadium and on to the pitch. This marks an early foray into the world of VR, and shows how fans will be able to watch a rugby match from the touchline, in 3-D, without ever leaving their living room.

Fans today demand a deeper analysis of the sport they are watching. Seeing the goal or point score ticking up is not enough, they want to know more – more detail, more insight. Accenture has worked with the RBS 6 Nations to see beyond the raw match data to reveal stories and analysis that bring an added depth and richness to the fan experience. The most state-of-the-art visualisation techniques are being used to bring data to life so it can be shared via the mobile app, social media and through broadcasters to enhance match day coverage.

Digital innovations will continue to shape sports in a host of ways, enhancing the experience for both fans and athletes. Accenture’s work with the RBS 6 Nations is helping to drive real innovation in fan engagement and bring the future to the fan today.

Find out more about our work with RBS 6 Nations.

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