Great article from the Mobile Sports Report on the Dodgers Wifi 6 rollout and how that will work with 5G to deliver a more feature rich wireless experience for fans. Great to see that there is a plan in place from venues to compliment both technologies.
The virtual Tour De France is an incredible innovation piece that should be looked as a model for fan engagement moving forward. Nothing engages fans more than feeling like they are participating and feeling the action of a high level event. The more innovations sports can come up with using technology that allows the fan to feel a part of the action, the more appreciation they will have for the sport and the more they will be a fan, follower and revenue source. Nothing can hook a fan more than the chance to be across the ice form Connor McDavid or taking a pitch from Max Scherzer or a serve from Bianca Andreescu. This is how you can bring your fans to your game and away from the seemingly unlimited array of entertainment options available.
World of Outlaws full-crowd events will have high-tech health screening, rapid COVID-19 testing on site
World of Outlaws racing will be the first North American event to return at capacity during the July holiday weekend and has invested heavily in technology to allow them to do so.
Great to see more pro teams supporting the tech startup community and understanding the value that tech and innovation will bring to the industry and their organizations. By supporting startups they are recognizing that true innovation doesn't only come from large and well funded organizations, but also from hungry and nimble companies willing to do things differently. This is how we move forward in sports tech.
Tennis has been one of the slower sports to adapt to tech for high performance training mainly due to the fact that it's organized as individual vs team training concepts and in reality, a lot of tennis coaches are "old school". Great to see the LTA embracing Catapult and what this tech can bring to training players. Also great to see coaches understanding that tech will not replace them but will only enhance what they do for their players.
As Venues are redesigned to support social distancing measures, we know that technology is going to play a critical role in everything from mobile ticketing, to contactless POS system for F&B and even traffic monitoring to maintain social distancing. It is important and even required to have these systems in place for the short to medium term but venues should be looking ahead to see how they could be repurposed or alternatively used to enhance the fan experience and increase revenue in the long term as well. By finding multiple uses for technology(that can create revenue) you are demonstrating that technology is a value generator and not just a cost centre. This is a critical evolution for tech teams.
WaitTimes is a perfect example of a multiple use technology. WaitTimes main objective is to steer fans to the shortest lines in concessions, bathrooms etc to increase per caps in venue and also sell digital assets on the video board to sponsors. During Covid, they have pivoted to use their cameras and technology to help maintain social distancing in venues which is great for the return of fans and will help with safe venue protocols creating the perfect multipurpose technology. You not only have a technology that is needed for short term safety but also one that will help grow the organization long term.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain is moving from the world of daytraders and speculators to fan engagement and revenue generation. A number of european football club have started selling team specific "coins" to fans that have the potential to unlock a myriad of fan engagement activations, provide fan data to teams and generate an enormous amount of revenue. Barcelona generated $1.3 million in 2 hours after selling out their BAR Token coin.
"In return for their purchase, the fan tokens will offer buyers increased fan engagement on Socios.com, enabling them to vote in club-specific polls and to be in with the chance of winning digital and real-life rewards, such as VIP experiences. The first Barca poll using $BAR will let supporters decide on a piece of fan-designed artwork to go inside the home dressing room at the Camp Nou stadium. $BAR token holders will also be able to vote in other polls every season on Socios.com, earning rewards and increasing their fan status through the app."
5G gets all the buzz these days but let's not forget Wifi6 or Wifi6E. Wifi 6 advances will allow venues to finally provide the performance and capacity for organizations to leap forward on the fan engagement and data front...which means more revenue generation.
Why does performance and capacity matter? If you have a wifi network that can take as many users as possible without degrading performance as traditional wifi networks currently do, you are encouraging to get people on your network vs their cell network. When you have them on your network you can now deliver amazing fan activations, capture and analyze data and create digital assets to sell to sponsors with your captive and engaged audience. Heres an excellent video that tells you in plain english what Wifi6 is and why it matters.
The key is to get fans on your network and then keep them there!
We know of the benefits of Data and AI on the field of play and now organizations are starting to embrace the role of Machine Learning in attracting and engaging fans. Very interesting play here from Acronis and European Football. Obviously some privacy issues to work out but some incredible runway in terms of fan engagement, digital assets and revenue generation.
From the Article: " during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, each stadium was packed with 1,200 cameras—but also an obvious commercial consideration. “You can analyze the fans in the stadium and watch if they're engaged or not engaged by looking at their facial expressions or their eyeball movements,” says Beloussov. “In that way you can dynamically allocate time to the sponsors. So, instead of just showing an ad during half-time or during a goal, you'll show it when the audience is most engaged.”
Part 1 of a fantastic video series from the group at MIT Sloan Sports on the Return To Sports. I obviously love the emphasis on technology and using the right technology in the right areas to bring back fans. This is a must watch for anyone in the sportsbiz. Excited for the next part on June 24th!