Everything is going mobile! And mobile devices may change the way football consumers would like the game to be delivered to them – Perhaps, on their Cell phones or i-pads. It’ll be another shift in consumers’ behavior and the entire football lifestyle. Technology has been the major change agent, always introducing to us a new way of living. Early in the 20th century, it started with radio, reaching local football fans from a remote station with live commentaries. Then, every football fan had at least a transistor radio, which he takes along to the stadium to listen to commentaries while seeing the game live.
Television came to change all that, fans don’t need to go to the stadium any more. They can watch their home team from a local television station that transmitted the audio-visual to their homes. First, fans watched recorded matches played earlier in the day or a day before, but with improvement of terrestrial networks, fans could see football games live on TV. Fans gathered in restaurants, parks or even under a tree to watch live football games played hundreds of miles away.
Satellite technology took it one step further. Fans now have access to football events from around the world. DSTV has been in the forefront of distributing football games to a worldwide audience via cable-TV technology from ESPN, Super Sports, and Sky TV… In places like Nigeria for instance, most fans have abandoned their local league and now support a more interesting teams around the world, especially in Europe. It’s no longer Rangers International, Shooting Stars, or Kano Pillars. It’s Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, or Real Madrid…
Recently, internet digital technology has started to transmit videos and sounds in bits and bytes of computer language. Website like You tube.com now stream football games live on the internet. Fans can watch football games on their desktop or laptop while at work. All they need do is to open a window and minimize it to a viewable size, while still working on their assignments in another window.
Today, everything is going mobile and cable TV technology has been fused into mobile devices like cell phones. Fans can watch UEFA Champions’ League on DSTV mobile on their cell phone; wherever they are. It’s DSTV mobile evolution for fans on the go. The question is, can DSTV mobile bring about a dramatic change in consumers’ behaviors? How much impact can it make on the current lifestyle of football fans? Will football fans prefer to watch their football games on mobile devices such as, cell phones, PDA, i-pods, i-pads…? These are questions sport marketers would have to answer to prepare them for the next level.
Adejumo Akintola, a sport marketing consultant and CEO of Pragmatic Sports LTD said, “Its all a show-off to have DSTV on Cell phones. Most football fans may not see it as a serious device for watching football games.” I can give you at least four reasons why football fans may not want to watch football on mobile devices.
1. The Big Screen Phenomenon: Most mobile devices may be too small to watch a football game. The pictures will be too small and fans would have to strain their eyes in other to see some of the football actions clearly. Most football fans prefer to watch football games on a big screen television, to enact the effect of a stadium environment.
2. Interactive Excitement: A football game is better watched with friends. The excitement comes from the interactions during the game – the cheers, arguments and opinions of other fans – make the game more interesting. This is the reason why fans still go to stadium or viewing centers to watch football games, even when they have cable-TV at home. Watching on mobile devices may inhibit the interactions due to its micro size.
3. High Cost per Match: Downloading videos on mobile devices are more expensive than running a DSTV decoder on TV. It may cost each cell phone user $20 to watch a 90 minutes football game as compared to $5 on TV. Fans may not want to spend such an amount, unless it’s absolutely necessary.
4. Run down Battery: Most mobile devices are powered by rechargeable batteries, which cannot run for 90 minutes non-stop, without running down. Most cell phone users may not want their device to go off in the middle of match. And as you know, it’s very dangerous to use a mobile device while charging it on electricity.