I love sports tech companies that provide platforms vs single use technology. If a fan has to move from tech to tech it gets confusing, they lose interest and you lose an opportunity to engage.
One critical mistake organizations make, is trying to get people off their smartphones and devices which will never happen if we are being realistic. The key is to engage fans and participants through their device and create a complimentary experience to the live event that will capture their attention and elevate the fan journey.
TennisOne by Bleachr is a product and company I worked with when I headed up technology at Tennis Canada and the RogersCup that has done just that. They have created a platform that is a Tennis Hub designed to create a Community for fans and keep them engaged to compliment their event experience and keep them engaged year round. When you can keep fans hooked on a single platform, its much easier to create digital assets and authentic experiences that will help you grow your event and generate incremental revenue all year round instead of just during your event.
Creating a winning technology strategy in sports is not just about finding the latest and greatest tech and hoping it works. and looks cool A smart strategy must justify the huge investments needed to implement and it must take a multi-pronged approach with everything tying back to growing the organization. Data, Partnerships and innovation need to all work together with the business to make sure that the plan is hyper-focused on growing the value of your business.
If your technology leader is not a business leader, than you are already behind the 8ball because more than likely, tech will continue to be a cost-centre and not a revenue generator at your organization. Sports tech is a business partner now more than ever.
The organizations that will thrive post covid are the ones that are using this time to reset and accelerate innovations and digital transformation. When sports and fans come back, the same old experience will no longer be good enough. Teams need to look at all the ways they can leverage smart tech working with the business to create the next level fan experience. Fans will expect a touchless yet more connected and immersive social experience that teams will need to deliver. Fast company presents some great ideas on how we can leverage technology to create that experience with fans and grow revenue and the organization.
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."