Whatever your personal stance may be, there is no denying that Sports Betting is here to stay and it is the key to attracting and engaging the younger demographic to your sport. You only have to see the explosion of Daily Fantasy sites to understand the impact that betting has on sports. Rather than trying to deny this leagues need to embrace this and create an environment where they can engage their fans using the latest technology and statistics to bring in these fans. BY embracing betting you can also work to reduce potential corruption in your sport by properly regulating these activities and having a closer ear to the ground.
The Toronto Wolfpack have already started looking at how tech will support physical distancing while welcoming fans back. They are looking at compulsory tracking bracelets to assist in Covid 19 tracing efforts in case of cases contracted during an event. While I am all for speeding up the return of fans I feel like this could be a missed opportunity. Fans are already weary of being "tracked" and this seems like something that would keep them away instead of enticing them to come back and enjoy the incredible experience of a Wolfpack game(it really is a wonderful fan atmosphere there). In my opinion, you have to offer something back to the fans and add some extra value to them for example loading up some F&B or merch coupons to the bracelet or activating games in the team app when it detects the bracelet nearby. Theres many possibilities to add some fan value. We should also be looking at how these technologies can help the fan experience long term vs just during this post pandemic phase as significant dollars will be involved in rolling out these technologies and long term benefits would make the most sense.
I don't mean to pick on the Wolfpack as they are a tremendous organization and the article does say its very preliminary but its good for teams to start thinking how we best use technology to support physical distancing while not being too invasive to our fans and also enhancing the experience short and long term.
Fifa has set up an excellent hub for sports technology people that lays out their innovation roadmap and provides learning resources that give a window into the world of soccer tech and sports tech as a whole. If you are interested in sports tech or working in the field, it's something to bookmark and check regularly.
Facebook is looking to recreate the live event experience at home. Bold initiative considering that their first venture "stadium" was a failure. It will be interesting to see the adoption of Venue because recreating the fan experience will be valuable even when fans return to live events.
High tech and Lower Capacity was a trend that had begun in venues pre-pandemic. Fans behaviour had moved away from being crowded in seats in the upper deck and had moved towards social spaces and a an experience that was more than just watching the game. Fans want an experience that they can't get at home and that where smart technology investments come in. How can teams use tech to bring social spaces alive? Augmented Reality or AR is an example of one of the technology's that can accomplish this. Imagine taking selfies with a hologram of your favourite player on the concourse or virtually stepping up to bat against a 95 mile an fastball in between ordering beer and nachos from your mobile app. The possibilities are endless and it will take all business teams in the organizations working together to create the best solutions and not just Tech working in a silo to provide a solution that engages fans, drives revenue and grows the business..