As sports slowly start coming back, the smart teams are ramping up technology and innovation investments to make up lost revenue and engage fans in different ways.
Juan Iraola, Real Sociedad’s head of digital transformation and innovation, said: “The objective is to change, a little bit, the sponsorship model connected with the kit. Right now, we have to attract big brands to pay big money for TV audiences. Besides this, we try to connect brands, whether international or local, to promote their product. We have right now a huge inventory of digital assets full of fans and empty of sponsors. What an incredible paradox because, right now, the stadium is full of sponsors and empty of fans."
There will also be a need to engage fans outside the venue as social distancing measures will slow down entrance times. 5G, Wifi, AR, VR, Video/Audio-streaming to smartphones etc are all opportunities for fans to be engaged and generate revenue. Teams need to look at these potential issues and logjams and see that there is opportunity to grow and then make the right technology investments to succeed.
This technology may only be used now in empty stadiums but when the fans come back it will really help to complement the event experience.
One of the areas of sports tech that I am most passionate about is its application in making sports accessible to all fans. Here's how tech is improving and enhancing the soccer experience for visually impaired fans. This tech obviously applies across all sports and entertainment and continue to make sports accessible to all.
Kurt Busch says he spent $7,000 on his iRacing setup and had to ask younger NASCAR drivers for help with the technology
Racing simulators have come a long way since the days of Rad Racer on the NES. They now provide realistic and safe training scenarios for top level NASCAR drivers.
Before I get into this post I just want to state up front that I don't get paid to post about anything or anyone. I am passionate about getting the word out about companies I believe in and ones that are being truly innovative in the sports world.
As we continue to explore venue tech for Sports 2.0, I always come back to one of my favourite companies and a company that is set to thrive in the new landscape. WaitTime is an AI based real-time cloud based crowd monitoring technology that was designed to let fans and arena staff know where bottlenecks are occurring in the building. The main use pre Covid, was to create efficiencies for fans and get them back to the action as quickly as possible, while reducing lines and increasing transactions at the till to generate revenue. Post Covid, the added value is the ability to support social distancing and safety measures at venues which as you can imagine is a huge game changer.
These are the technologies venue staff need to look at and include in their return to action strategy. The hit all the points that I speak about ( Fan enhancement, data analytics and revenue generation) that set you up for success.
It's time for teams to reimagine the fan experience. Smart investments and a solid strategy with emphasis on innovation and technology are going to be at the forefront. Real innovation takes input from the whole business and not just tech teams to be set up for success.
Some questions to ask when creating a innovation strategy in Sports 2.0 :
- Whats the new fan journey going to look like?
- What innovation makes sense at each touchpoint in that journey?
- How do the innovations fit within the larger scope of business (Data, Revenue generation, Ticket Sales etc.)
- Is there an ROI beyond just our fan engagement (Nice to have vs true value generator)
There are limitless questions that can be asked based on your goals but the idea is to consider the business as a whole when crafting your Sports 2.0 innovation strategy and not getting it done in a silo. If it is created in a silo, it doesn't take into account the whole ecosystem that drives a successful business and results. If there is no ownership in every department there is no way that success is achievable because a team effort off the field is just as critical as on the field.
There will need to be a shift in thinking. Communications and technology have been historically under-resourced in sport in many areas, both from a people and financial perspective. It’s hard to see how that can continue.
Every sporting club and organisation needs to look at how technology can help them engage their members, support commercial income, improve efficiency, help their volunteers, or provide activity that compliments or grows their approach.
Survive or thrive…sport and technology has stepped up in importance in just a few weeks. We can’t afford to ignore it.
Always good to see tech teams getting some well deserved recognition.
We often hear of the cool innovations and technologies put in place by tech teams to move the business forward but a huge part of the business is done in the background to make sure everything is running smoothly. Without a solid foundation of smooth running infrastructure, it wouldn't allow us to do the "fun stuff" and be value generators.
From the article:
“It’s like the long snapper,” Spielman said. “As long as everything is running smoothly, you don’t hear about them, until something comes up and everybody wants to jump on them. Well, our IT people, you don’t hear anything about them because of how capable they are.”
We are seeing a new era of innovation being ushered in as companies look for ways to get fans safely back into arenas
Golf is one of the first sports to come back with fans and they are using smart investments in technology to help.