Streaming access alone may not be enough for the modern sports fan, as increasing expectations around the metaverse, entertainment and connectivity drive desire for new experiences; almost half of UK football viewers willing to pay more for a World Cup-specific, 5G mobile data package.e
According to research from Amdocs, a leading provider of software and services to communications and media companies, in its The World Cup 2022 Viewing Report, viewers are largely ready for a new era of amazing interactive entertainment offerings and are willing to pay for digital products and services that make their experience more enjoyable.
However, not having access to viewing the World Cup, coupled with questions around network reliability, could hinder this evolution.
When asked if they would be willing to pay extra for an unlimited World Cup-specific mobile data package to stream matches at 5G speeds with no delays or loss of connectivity, 48% were interested. While most (73%) viewers plan to watch the World Cup on live public TV, 44% of millennials and 38% of Gen-Z plan to stream games. Notably, viewers under 40 plan to watch the games on social media channels, with millennials leading this trend (28%) followed by Gen-Z (27%).
Some 78% of fans are confident in their home connectivity to support their World Cup viewing. However, confidence drops to 57% when it comes to their mobile network. Accessibility is also a concern, with 18% of total respondents stating they don’t have access to all games from their TV provider.
Almost two-thirds (62%) of viewers expressed interest in using the metaverse to be part of a virtual stadium where they could watch sporting events with other fans as if they were there. Gen-Z (42%) and millennials (39%) are the most interested, while a quarter (25%) of Gen-X respondents were.
Beyond the metaverse, viewers have a growing desire for more interactive experiences like 360-degree live video of the game (30%), interactive in-game challenges (25%) and AR/VR experiences (24%).
Anthony Goonetilleke, Group President of Technology and Head of Strategy at Amdocs comments: “As 5G availability expands, we expect to see more service providers creating unique “experience packages” beyond generic 5G speed across all offerings—for instance, a connection specifically for the metaverse or augmented reality sports, and more – even packaged with hardware or other physical goods that enable or complement the experience. As experiences become more a la carte, there is a need for a new kind of approach that can be fine-tuned and uniquely tailored to end-users. This flexibility will be essential for players in an increasingly digital world, including next-generation entertainment experiences made possible by a reliable network.”
Raman Abrol, General Manager at Amdocs and CEO of Vubiquity, adds: “These findings show that consumers now have new, specific criteria that determine value from their service and content providers, and they want new ways to engage. It also opens opportunities to rethink how services can be bundled; they can be powered by a diverse ecosystem of partners that delivers best-in-class offerings like 360 video, real-time insights and metaverse experiences. This approach is essential to get right because opportunities to personalise the viewing experience will continue to grow, creating more options, and potential complications, as consumers try to manage their offerings.”