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Volume 26 No. 64
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Looking Into The Future: Execs Discuss Changing Demographics, New Technology

Demographic shifts and changing consumption patterns were the focus of the final panel on Day 1 of the ’14 NeuLion Sports Media & Technology Conference. Univision Deportes President Juan Carlos Rodriguez said that in the next five years, there will be a demographic shift so that “one in four people in the U.S will be Hispanic.” He added that the “landscape of rights acquisitions is going to change worldwide.” Rodriguez said Univision is going to try to “increase the size of the rivalry between Mexico and the U.S. -- both on the soccer side and on the non-soccer side, whether it be cultural events, concerts or cooking contests." He said, "We believe there is a lot of room to grow. We believe in new sports, like indoor volleyball, that could become a new asset. And we believe in our current partners, like Liga MX and MLS, which have been driving forces.” Facebook Head of Sports Partnerships Dan Reed discussed the company’s recent acquisition of the Oculus Rift technology, saying the “bet is that virtual reality will be the next major consumer media platform." Reed: "There's the promise of billions of people being able to sit courtside and experience an NBA game through Oculus. And whether it’s a live game or a locker room experience, being able to sit alongside your dad or best friend -- who may be on the other side of the world -- we think that sort of experience could be very powerful. But we’re just in the early stages.”

Wagner discusses how the use of drones could
create new opportunities in sports media
THE NEXT GENERATION: Reed added that “personalized curation of content is going to be the primary way that people discover content that they’re interested in.” NBC Sports Ventures Senior VP Rob Simmelkjaer discussed the net's soccer programming and the sport’s young demos, saying, “We’re dealing with a generation that played youth soccer, so they have a connection that maybe older generations didn’t. But another part of it is that we are presenting a product to them that has fewer constraints than the product previously had. You hadn’t been able to get many live EPL games in the U.S. before. Now, this year, you can get more EPL matches in the U.S. than you can in the U.K.” The use of drones within sports also came up on the panel, with NeuLion Exec VP Chris Wagner giving an example of how a school like LSU during a Saturday-night game could create something like “their own tailgate channel” using drones to give fans a different viewer experience. Simmelkjaer added that drones could be “more exciting for an event like the Tour de France, where you have an event happening over a couple hundred kilometers.” Meanwhile, Vox Media Chief Product Officer Trei Brundrett noted that Amazon could become a player for sports rights as a “lead-in for e-commerce.” Brundrett said fans could be watching on Amazon, but sports are just a “node to get you into” the e-commerce.