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SMT Panel: How Disruptive Technology is Changing the Fan Experience

Changing the Fan Experience

Noah Fischbach, NFL
David Jurenka, Xbox Entertainment Studios
Scott Rosenberg, Roku
Gerard Waldron, Covington & Burling

Focusing on the synergy between sports and emerging entertainment technology, the 2013 Covington & Burling Sports Media & Technology conference brought together execs from the property, technology and legal fields for panel entitled, “Disruptive Technologies: How Connected Platform Devices Are Changing The Fan Experience.”

A major focus of the panel was the new deal between Microsoft and the NFL around the company’s Xbox One launch. Noah Fischbach, vice president of emerging products and technology with the NFL, said that having league apps on Xbox One at the outset is “additive” for the league. Fischbach: “The fantasy experience is a great example. You’ll now be able to watch your Sunday afternoon game on CBS or Fox and have your fantasy experience right there. … You won’t need to go get a second device. … For us, we think it’s going to be really interesting to see how much more people consume our content. … The Xbox One was built for this next generation and you can really do multiple things at once.”

David Jurenka, vice president and executive producer at Xbox Entertainment Studios, on which live sports will be on Xbox One at its launch: “We’ll have the NFL and ESPN at the launch. … But we’ve also had UFC pay-per-view events over the last few years, as well as partnerships with the leagues — NBA, MLB and NHL with their out-of-market packages.

Scott Rosenberg, Roku’s vice president of business development, content and services, on having most of the major pro leagues on the platform, said, “It’s a nice growing vertical for us. We’ve got great relationships with the leagues. Sports is a complex business, but it’s one that we continue to lean into more and more as we add league or sports news apps to the experience and bring networks on.”

Rosenberg, on the need to improve network architecture, “We’ve broken service providers around live events because they didn’t anticipate demand. But that is mostly a failure to plan.” Jurenka: “That certainly happened to us during the first year of showing ‘Sunday Night Football.’”

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