It comes as a surprise to most people that I am a football fan. That this high falutin literature buff can put down the decanter and pick up a brewski to enjoy one of America's most barbaric pastimes has rendered many a friend confused. And still, there's something sacred about sharing an adrenaline rush with fans of your team -- your people -- across the United States. (Go 9ers!)
And now, technology is making that fan experience even better. What a time to be alive.
This year is one for the history books, as the Denver Broncos are experimenting with a new technology by CrowdOptic that will allow fans to experience the best possible view from the live stadium at any given moment, in real-time.
“You can look at a particular area of interest, say the goal line of the Bronco's stadium, and you can tap into any other camera looking at the goal line,” says James Kovach, former NFL linebacker and Vice President of Business Development of CrowdOptic.
According to Kovach, fans can control their view of the game by simply looking in the direction they want to see. “You can basically see any view of the stadium from one location.”
Using Sony Smart Eyeglasses, fans can “beam” the view into flatscreens or use the glasses' full-eye display. And for fans that are watching from home, the smart devices can be used to broadcast anywhere in the world via social media to livestream the coverage. “I call it the virtual fan,” says Kovach.
This technology allows fans and franchises to take control over the content they want -- a responsibility formerly granted solely to networks. From the pregame to VIP access, the CrowdOptic technology allows behind-the-scenes broadcasts in parallel with game play so that fans don't have to miss a thing.
“You can put on the Sony Smart Eyeglasses and interview John Elway and it would be broadcast all over the world via social media. It's a way for franchises to create content outside of the traditional news media,” says Kovach. “There's a movement of franchises wanting to create content outside of the media filter.”
Responding to that notion, a specialized social media platform has been created to do just that.
Teams, professional athletes, suppliers, and sports media outlets have huge fan bases spread across multiple social channels and apps. There has been no one place to bring them all together while engaging fans in a geographic, authentic and community-based way. Until, that is, Follr was released.
"There has always been a huge disconnect between how fans and teams connect, and social media has, in many ways, muddied the water,” says Follr founder, Mark Wayman. “Follr has been built by fans for fans and it addresses an enormous opportunity by creating authentic relationships while additionally helping sports franchises protect their brand, have their message reach larger audiences, and access currently untapped revenue."
By 'reinventing the fan experience' via its intuitive social media platform, Follr allows fans to convene in an online world that centers around any team or player. Rather than fishing through multiple social media networks, it aggregates content while simultaneously helping fans share moments from the stadium, chat online, and share videos and photos while helping franchises and athletes grow their fan bases locally and abroad. Follr's clearly defined niche also makes it easy to find and engage with behind-the-scenes content from franchises and fans alike.
"The origin of the word fan, 'fanatics,' refers to being 'insane and divinely inspired,'" says Steve Fells, CEO of Follr. "For many, the connection they have with their team is a physical, emotional and sometimes even spiritual."
So, the obvious question...
Who do you Follr?