For obvious reason, race cars and especially F1 cars are at the cutting edge of engineering and technology. It's necessary to be cutting edge when you are dealing with grounded rockets racing each other with milliseconds difference and doing it safely!
A fascinating look here at the technology that drives the Renault F1 Team.
Golf and specifically the PGA is one sport that has reinvented itself through digital transformation. The PGA was on a downturn post Tiger Mania and they looked to technology as a way to engage the current youth demo in the way that Tiger engaged the now millenials a decade earlier. The PGA understood that the way youth consumed sports was changing and they were ahead of the curve bringing on such technologies as TopTracer to give fans the deeper understand and analysis of the game that they have come to expect in a world where you have all the knowledge in history in the palm of your hand.
This is where your digital transformation ROI shines through. Look at the sport as a platform not a product and use your channels to create digital assets to attract fans and create authentic experiences for partners. By digital assets, I'm referring to immersive and targeted OTT streaming experiences, AR/VR activation, Statcast analytics, engaging mobile app, gameificiation etc. Funny and quirky social media posts alone wont cut it anymore.
Stealing a tweet from Amir Zonzozi of Zoomph, "Teams need to think more like media companies and less like event companies."
While many transformation projects have been put on hold during the pandemic, many others have been accelerated. The sports tech world never slows down and the value and need for digital transformation in sports and entertainment is now greater than ever.
The US Open Tennis Tournament is using robotic line calls through Hawkeye technology, MLB is experimenting with robot umpires, Fifa has moved to Goal-line technology (with mixed results) and now cricket is deploying tech to call no balls. Technology is slowly taking over officiating in sports.
When I look at sports or trends that have faded away and then revived themselves, the common thread is always smart digital and technology based investment and transformation. Two of the best examples of this are WWE and the Sports Card industry. These industries achieved huge success in the 80's and 90's and then seemingly faded away for a short time for a number of reasons. By embracing digital transformation and technology they have both revived and thrived while other trends and sports who didn't see the value of investing in technology were left by the wayside ( remember beanie babies and roller derby).
There are lessons to be learned post covid as sports and entertainment reboot, re-brand and regroup for a new era. It's impossible to ignore the fact that the brands that embrace digital transformation will thrive, while the brands who continue business as usual may suffer the same fate of beanie babies. The time is now to have transformational leadership focused on the strategic use and investment in technology to grow your business. It is not a cost that can be cut or scaled down in a time where the connected fan is the most important one. It is also not a time where technology leadership should be focused on keeping the servers running. True technology leadership is strategic and value based with the focus on growing the business.
A couple of great articles here on how Topps and WWE successfully invested in technology and digital transformation to create another golden era for them.
The biggest challenge will be getting fans to trust the technology is only being used for access to the event and not as a data mine. If companies like Clear are transparent with what they are doing with the data and fans perceive the access to the event as a worthy trade-off, it may be an easier sell.
Arsenal has found great engagement on its digital channels with Intel's TrueView technology that provides 360 degree replays for fans. After implementing this tech, replays on Trueview garner 90% more views than traditional replays which is an astonishing number. This generates revenue from the partnership with intel and acts as a centrepiece for other digital assets that become attractive to other potential sponsors for branding.
A great example of an authentic technology partnership that generates revenues and provides true value for the partner.