A Jump to the Virtual Fanbase
With Covid-19 emerging with substantial effects on our lifestyle, hobbies, physical and mental health, it is no doubt that it has created a void in us. As it left empty arenas, empty gymnasiums, and empty courts, we fans are left on a binge and have no shape to drive our spirits to head on what our usual life had been.
We definitely miss watching live games, seeing our idols, hanging out with friends to support each one’s favorite, or screaming out of our lungs—the pandemic made us miss so much that we lost count.
Sports fandom is far beyond entertainment and boosting one’s esteem, the thing is that it creates new friendships, bridges families that we do not expect, strengthens our bond, and most importantly recalibrates our faith.
Reminisce those memories that you’re in an arena and you’re at the edge of your seat. One side of the arena is supporting your team and one side is the opposite. As the game intensifies, your feet crumble, the inclination to go with the drums persists. As you see others standing on their feet, heavily shouting the chant they know, you stand up and go along with the noises. Seeing this gave you chills, and you realize at that moment, that certain moment, you belong to a community—that’s the essence of being a fan!
With that said, sports fandom is nearly out of possibility but certainly not impossible. As many things convert to go online, it is without a doubt that digital technologies are redefining sports and the fandom experience as well.
Sports institutions are definitely reaching our homes. Many can still indulge in being a fan but in a whole new way.
One is the NBA that narrows the distance from their fans, it is called the NBA Virtual Fan Experience wherein NBA fans have the opportunity to watch the game in live streams.
With many sports organizations to resume in a bubble, fans are expecting in getting their firsthand experience in the virtual fan wall.
In other countries, they are closing the gap between the on-site and virtual fan experience. It will be soon for the Filipinos as well that many will aped to a new era: reacting to events in their homes, holding between a mug or a dog at the edge of their seats, others will build giant pitch-side screens to share their reactions, creating virtual teams with their friends, etc.
It will be close enough that these moments will create a new world for us. Many may find this jarring, but it is merely the next step to shift from the pre-crisis we already encountered.
We will eventually be a fan of our own—shouting at our homes, screaming our chants, and feeling the usual fan experience we absolutely miss. And, I am totally up for it!