To catch the latest Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs games fans are forced to tune in to the action from their living rooms.
To help solve this issue, Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) developed new ‘digital arenas’ for its Raptors and Leafs mobile apps to help reconnect audiences with their favourite teams and fellow fans.
MLSE Digital Labs created the new digital arenas in collaboration with Tradable Bits Media, which has worked with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs for their respective digital arenas.
Humza Teherany, MLSE’s chief technology and digital officer, says that the digital arena provides fans a chance to come together virtually. “It’s the digital manifestation of being at a game,” said Teherany in a recent press release.
When you enter the app, you’ll see a box for the digital arena, which enables fans to live chat with each other, along with a feature for private messaging for you and your friends. You’re also able to answer trivia questions, make real-time predictions and even partake in virtual T-shirt tosses.
MLSE's Digital Arena platform brings excitement of in-arena experience home to fans as they follow the @MapleLeafs and @Raptors 🏡 @NeilMDavidson ✍️ » https://t.co/nkvwif1Ehm pic.twitter.com/H9Cy7NTVd7
— MLSE PR (@MLSEPR) March 29, 2021
MLSE initially started team apps to enhance fans’ experience attending in-person games, allowing them to store their tickets digitally or order merchandise and snacks from their seats. Since the onset of COVID-19, MLSE has expanded the apps’ functionality, adding features like ‘coach news conference’ and offering behind-the-scenes content between games.
This is a pretty interesting concept that could make live sports viewers act a little more like people who watch live content online like Twitch and YouTube. The persistent chat box and the ability to interact with the game from your phone has defiantly become a permanent fixture in e-sports and videogame streaming so it will be interesting to see if this new-school idea can successfully be applied to traditional sports.
Toronto FC fans don’t need to feel left out since a digital arena is on the way for that MLSE team shortly.