This week, we talk about how opt-in data sharing could be the answer to a familiar pain point – spoilers.

The UX of AFL

Here's a quick UX lesson, courtesy of score spoilers.

Peter Bidenko

Creative

Learning Organisation

4 minute read

Years ago, I had a thought that it would be great if we could stream sport like we streamed movies and TV series. Lo and behold in 2018, along came Kayo, fulfiling every sport fanatic's dream.

It’s taken a while to get traction but now has fundamentally changed the way many of us watch the greatest reality TV show on the planet: AFL.

In short
  • Streaming services have redefined what it means to watch a sports game ‘live’.
  • Viewing a game on demand, however, can leave you open to spoilers from news outlets.
  • Opt-in data sharing between streaming and news platforms could revolutionise sports lovers’ experiences.
Redefining the live sporting game

Where before we’d have to watch AFL in live time, now we watch it when we have time. It’s ‘almost live’ or ‘recently live’. For all intents and purposes, streamed games provide the same user experience as live games as long as we don’t know anything about it before watching it - including (fundamentally) the score. If you do, it’s all over.

It’s like finding out plot twists in a movie or knowing a comedian’s punch line before you see their show. I saw a Ricky Gervais interview recently where he was talking about his ‘warm up shows’ where he trials new material to a small audience. His pet hate was that critics would actually repeat the material in their reports, therefore blowing any surprise for future audiences. He’d have to go and write new jokes. AFL spoilers are arguable more dire; you can’t write a new game! You can see the gravity of the situation. Something must be done!

The answer is in UX design

To provide some context for my proposed solution, let me backtrack and describe a typical morning in my life. Normally I get up early, have a coffee, watch the dawn, read the news on my phone and get ready to start the day.

Scrolling through the news, the one thing I can’t read is the sports section. Because that’s going to blow my whole ‘watching live when I want to’ modus operandi.

Yet if my preferred news outlets received a live feed from Kayo letting them know what I’ve watched and what I haven’t, it would be able to omit from my news feed anything that’s going to destroy my pre-game anticipation.


“For all intents and purposes, a game can remain live, as long as we don’t know anything about it before watching it.”

The evolution of data sharing

UX is all about understanding people’s behaviours, passions and habits. It is about discovering what is meaningful to them and developing the tech that can deliver on it.
Opt-in data sharing can target a specific pain point for the user and improve their experience. I’m willing to share any data that means the days of AFL spoilers will be a thing of the past.

on switching off spoilers
While you still find spoilers for a game’s outcome on any news outlet, many sports streamers have rectified the problem within their own service – particularly in the US. The NBA app can hide scores across games and YouTube TV gives users the option to hold scores and previews for an entire league.

Written by Pete Bidenko, 52 Words by Abby Clark, editing by Adelaide Anderson, key visual by Gavin Roberts, page built by Georgie Drinnan & Laura Murphy

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