Appearing on a panel discussion at the NeuLion Sports Media & Technology Conference held yesterday, October 27, 2015, World Surf League CEO Paul Speaker discussed the many ways that “Over-The-Top” entertainment is changing the sports media distribution model and how surfing is perfectly positioned to benefit from these developments.
The World Surf League (WSL) – the sport’s professional governing body — broadcasts 800 hours of premium digital content featuring the world’s best surfers in the most exotic locations on the planet. To create this spectacular fan experience, the WSL works in concert with many partners to pioneer cutting-edge digital technology capturing dozens of global Championship Tour events from air, land and sea, putting the fans as close to the action as possible.
The WSL recognizes the importance of embracing new technology as a way of bringing more fans into the fold, and through its partnership with Samsung Electronics, it is able to do just that.
“Through our collaboration with Samsung Electronics, the WSL is able to introduce more fans to the wonders of surfing,” said Mr. Speaker. “Using our content and the incredible virtual reality technology with the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, it’s now possible to feel like you’re actually surfing one of the biggest waves on the planet with a world-class athlete.”
Today the WSL debuted on WorldSurfLeague.com a two-minute clip of former WSL World Champion C.J. Hobgood riding an incredible wave shot on location in beautiful Teahupo’o Tahiti by Rapid VR (Australia) and directed by Taylor Steele.
“We want to provide the millions of current and soon-to-be surf fans around the world with the most compelling video possible, and Samsung – a global leader in innovation – understands this. We are so fortunate to have them as our worldwide title partner,” said Speaker.
“Sports is a key passion point for Samsung, and we felt that surfing was the perfect sport to demonstrate our technological advancements in virtual reality,” said Jamie Park, Director of Experience Marketing Group, IT & Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics. “Through our partnership with the WSL, we are able to establish deep-level connections to our fans and create once-in-a-lifetime experiences through our innovative technology and captivating WSL content.”
Fans can judge the results for themselves by going to WorldSurfLeague.com.
With so much great content – all available for free – the WSL makes it effortless for fans to catch all the action they want, when and where they want it — whether it’s through the WSL website, the recently launched WSL App for Android and iOS devices, social media channels or the WSL’s numerous broadcast partners in major markets worldwide.
In addition to giving fans free access to unlimited broadcast-quality footage (more than 8,000 hours is currently available, with more going up every week) the WSL also provides fans with personalized alerts letting them know when their favorite athletes are in the water or when key match-ups are about to take place. All of this is done via the WSL’s mobile app and email, putting the fan in control of their viewing experience. WSL also offers its fans the extremely popular “Heat Analyzer” product which allows them to re-watch every wave ridden by their favorite surfers shortly after conclusion of the relevant heat.