By Barry Janoff
April 24, 2013: There is a lot of time, money and energy being put into upgrading and enhancing the visual experience for the 320 million fans who attend live sports events each year. Live2media has now joined the elite ranks of tech companies seeking to enhance the audio experience for fans during games in arenas, stadiums and at such events as marathons, outdoor Olympic competitions and the America's Cup yacht competition.
Live2media, based in Pleasanton, Calif., had its official unveiling today (April 24) as well as the unveiling of its flagship product, Livecard, a reusable smart receiver that is about the size of a hotel key card and is designed to be used as a personal listening device.
According to Live2media, their aim is to deliver a new, real-time audio experience by giving fans at live events the ability to tune into multiple channels to hear players, coaches and referees from the field of play, in addition to media broadcast feeds. Live2media also said that their technology would "create new revenue for event operators and sponsors."
"We are building and broadening the fan experience in a way that has never been done before," said Greg Moyer, CEO for Live2media. "There are more than 320 million fans worldwide at live sports events every year, and most of them can't hear what's happening on the playing field, can't hear the broadcast commentary and, in the case of America's Cup, certainly can't hear what the crew is saying on board the competing yachts. If they could, it would intensify and enhance their experience. Livecard now gives them that ability."
Moyer said that Live2media currently is in discussions with teams, leagues and event operators to bring Livecard and its technology to fans.
The company has signed its first deal, with America's Cup, which will give spectators who purchase the Livecard Kit and then watch the 34th America's Cup race from the shores of San Francisco, scheduled for July 4-Sept. 21, the opportunity to hear real-time live audio feeds from action on the water.
According to Live2media, the Livecard Kit contains a multi-channel smart receiver, which works in tandem with a smartcard that uses near field communication. The Livecard wireless platform "delivers rich audio content via a discreet, FCC compliant, wireless broadcast system to each Livecard smart receiver with user metrics collected through existing Wi-Fi and carrier networks," per the company.
Live2media said that Livecard would be available for purchase during the America's Cup online and in America's Cup partner stores in San Francisco (SRP $30).
Moyer said that Livecard, which slides into holder that users can wear around their neck or hook onto a belt or purse strap, "was specifically designed to provide new inventory" for marketers. America's Cup partners include Louis Vuitton, Puma, Lexus, Red Bull and Charles Schwab.
Although other companies have created audio-enhancing products that have been used at such events as the NFL's Super Bowl or the U.S. Tennis Open, Moyer said that Livecard stands both apart from and ahead of them.
"The other products offer maybe one or two broadcast channels from which to choose, where Livecard has the ability to handle many more channels at a time, although we see six as being the maximum for fan enjoyment," said Moyer. "Also, Livecard is reusable, where the others are designed for one-time use."
"Teams and venues are looking for ways to enhance the live experience for fans, and marketers are looking for new ways to reach consumers."
Moyer, who has a background in both audio technology and marketing, is pitching Livecard not only as a way for companies to brand and advertise during live events, but to also continue the marketing post-game.
"Livecard has the capability to be used as a smartcard in stores and supermarkets," said Moyer. "So, working with companies, we can offer discounts or exclusive sales to fans who become consumers when they are shopping.
"Teams and venues are looking for ways to enhance the live experience for fans, and marketers are looking for new ways to reach consumers," said Moyer. "So, for us, I believe the sky is the limit as far as where, and how far, we can take this technology."
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