The sports world is perched on the cusp of a digital insurgency, and everyone who matters is participating, from the NFL to the NBA. The Sports Techie community blog believes COVID-19 has changed digital strategies for sports properties, media, teams, and athletes, making the accelerated prioritization of sports tech a must if it wasn’t already so before the virus spread around the world in late 2019 and early 2020. New technologies are bringing audiences together and building connections between sports organizations, but the technological landscape has more to offer than mere globalization. Wearable cameras and analytics are helping players to assess their performance and refine their strategies. Data is power, but it is also bringing fans a closer view of the game. Wearable monitors have just as much influence, keeping track of players’ heart rates and health statistics to producing a safer game. Digital revolution sport data has also changed sports betting as well. Our thanks goes out to Patrick Hanley for submitting this terrific guest post.
Today’s NBA teams can tweak their playing habits through wearable sensors that measure important in-game statistics. Kinexon’s wearable technology crunches statistical data so that players can refine their tactical response. The process is automated, leaving professionals free to focus their energy where it counts: on improving their performance. Sensors are worn in the waistband, relying on a gyroscope and magnetometer to measure motion and positions. RF receivers receive the metrics, which can be used to reduce injury risk and monitor illegal moves. That data is of interest to audiences too, so it can be used to engage fans watching the game.
Analytics are changing the football industry as well. Statistics are gathered and processed to help NFL teams to win a competitive edge. Scouts, managers and coaches now have access to all the data they need to determine draft value. Upcoming seasons can be carefully sculpted to bring audiences their best players. Adjusted completion percentages measure dropped passes, spiked balls and other key factors to enhance play.
These types of wearables and the resulting data are also changing the sports betting industry. The time is near where a punter can lay down a bet on what a football player’s heart rate will be during crunch time.
These days, you’ll see a sea of tablets and phones around the court. These devices are giving benched players information on upcoming strategies and earlier gameplay. Coaches also rely on mobile technology to review strategies from the sidelines. Today’s NBA measures every component of its performance, and that is leading to a far more skilled performance.
Social Media and Audience Engagement
Streaming is probably the most impactful element of the sports world’s digital innovation because it brings games to a wider, more engaged audience. Social media has its own role to play, allowing fans to engage with their favorite stars online. Millennials have high expectations of their sports. They demand the ability to pause, replay and review in-game tweets. Facebook and Twitter often partner with sports subscription services, so modern audiences can follow a game on multiple platforms at once. Real-time conversations and recorded moments bring diversity to the viewing experience.
Technology and Engagement
Technology can achieve little if it fails to engage, so a forward-facing strategy includes four categories of growth:
1) A broader content reach:
Smartphones and tablets have reduced live game attendance across several leagues. Sports organizations need to build virtual connections with viewers across a wider range of devices and channels. That demands a sophisticated digital optimization strategy that reaches audiences from the top of their search results.
2) Driving the audience’s experience:
Stadium attendance is no longer a one-dimensional experience. Viewers can now engage with immersive technologies while they are watching a game. In-stadium experiences are being designed to ensure that paying for and attending live sports events are an upgrade for fans when compared to home viewing experiences.
3) Engaging sponsors:
Sponsors are also using interactive viewing and customized advertising to engage fans and maximize advertising income. Messaging relies on automation and AI to time content delivery profitably. Sponsorship in the digital age has become personalized to the delight of corporate partners.
4) Generating new revenue streams:
Data is an exciting revenue source that can be monetized in several innovative ways. It can help improve partner relationships, engage audiences and be sold to interested parties. Sports gambling data is certainly entering a wild-wild-West phase here in the United States however across Europe, monetization though the sale of performance data to sports books is already being done.
Coaching technology is rapidly changing the way coaches engage with their athletes. Earpiece technology can bring players complex data while they play, while NFL football helmets can interface with coaching tablets to broaden players’ tactical experience. Similar technology is also delivering safety warnings and helping players to monitor injuries as they recover. GPS sensors track movement, behavior and biometrics, while data gathering wearables adjust workouts to benefit athletes. Video technology and mouthguards can even monitor potential concussions.
Analytics can be used to predict player performance and indicate potential health risks. Rivals’ data can be used to project future games, allowing coaches to formulate increasingly insightful strategies. The NFL and NBA both use video to view instant replays and judge controversial calls. This way, coaches can operate at a higher level, leaving repeatable tasks to their devices and apps. Teams have never been as functional as they are today, and that is changing the way the world engages with its favorite sports.
Investors have contributed $2.5 billion in funding to the sports technology sector in the last few years, so the future of sports will unlock unprecedented growth. Digital innovation is changing almost every industry in existence today, and the sports world is no different.
Author Bio: This article was guest written by Patrick Hanley of APC Physio and Sports Clinic and edited by me. Patrick has utilized technology during the Covid-19 pandemic to enable him to continue his Sports Injury treatment online by providing expert advice and monitoring results.
Sports Techie, this article made me think about how much sports technologies have transformed sports over the past ten years I’ve been a blogger and curator.
Learning about the digital revolution from an expert such as Hanley is just the kind of sports tech content I love. I expect you will as well.
Wear your mask and be safe.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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