How We Now Watch Sport
Digital technology is changing the way we watch sports like the Super Bowl. Not just the action on the screen but the interaction off it as well.
I posted this image online during this week’s SuperBowl. This is how I watched the game, on a computer, in my home office. It might well be indicative of a bigger trend in the way many of us enjoy sports and television these days.
My Brief SuperBowl History
Since childhood I’ve had a fascination with American Football. Actually, my childhood involved a fascination with pretty much every sport, so watching NFL was nothing special. But, I did enjoy the SuperBowl and managed to watch every final from my first year of High School until 2011.
In fact, for several years I made a real effort to invite friends around, cook up some food, explain the game and have some fun. The last time I had a SuperBowl party was in 2003, in London. After that I watched the game at home alone.
On Not Having TV
But, here in Singapore I don’t have Cable TV, or any kind of TV reception. Because of this I missed last year’s big match (I have a TV, but its hooked up to a Blue-Ray player and AppleTV).
I do watch English Premier League matches sometimes, on my computer, via a subscription service with SingTel. The picture quality varies from poor to terrible, but at least I get to see some games. This got me thinking, as the SuperBowl approached, if there was a way to watch it live on the computer.
Well, it turns out you can buy a match pass, for U$9.99 to watch the SuperBowl in HD (including pre and post game shows, the half time special uninterrupted and the US SuperBowl ads). And, it really was HD, not the pseudo-HD SingTel offer on their football package.
I pulled the game up fullscreen on my 27inch Apple Cinema Display and it was stunning, glitch free and quite frankly, better than anything I had seen on a regular TV broadcast.
What you’ll notice in the picture, apart from the coffee cup and Picasso print, is my laptop open to Hootsuite, my Twitter client of choice. Yes, I was engaging in a little dual-screening, which is the habit of watching something on TV while talking about it (or doing something else) online.
I’m not normally into dual-screening (or multi-tasking or any other excuse for being distracted and unfocussed). But, I do admit that watching sport for me, makes the most sense as a social experience. In the absence of a few friends to share the game with (and maybe some beers and hot dogs) dual-screening is the next best thing.
And, watching the Super Bowl this way, on a computer while exchanging real time comments with people from all around the world is so very different to the way I watched the game as a kid.