Sports Tech Brings New Fan Experiences & Big Opportunities to Venues
We’ve all got firsthand experience in how technology constantly changes our lives, how we work and play. Play? Let’s zero in on sports tech and see what’s happening at games, on devices, and behind the scenes. Whether you’re a sports fan or on the venue management team, you don’t want to miss out on new technology.
Gone are the days when just going to a game was the whole experience. Now being a sports fan means the game—at home or in the stadium—can include connected services, faster processing, real-time data, personalized offerings, omnichannel access, and integrated cool apps. Having all the latest tech can make or break a venue’s winning business season.
Technology is an Accelerator
We’ve come a long way in sports tech over the past two decades. Think mobile apps, sensors, social, and connectivity. Now innovation in sports tech is moving exponentially. What used to take 20 years to develop now takes 5 years or less. And innovation is impacting every aspect of the sports world—new entertainment experiences, venue technologies, customer-driven apps, personalization tools, and more. The sports analytics market alone is expected to be worth $4.7 billion by 2021. Imagine the opportunity for growth there—just one example: a ton of employment openings for IT pros, data scientists, and marketing experts.
With the convergence of growing technologies like AI, IoT and Blockchain, applications interlock and share data, and processes run faster and work smarter. For sports fans, the result can be more sensory experiences available both in the stadium or attending a game remotely.
Inside the Stadium’s New Experience
The coming wave of sports tech is going to take fans well beyond just watching the game. The next generation will use tech to create the experience, define it, and become it. We’re talking about immersive, hands-on experiences through VR or augmented reality that put fans right in the middle of the action.
Cognitive computing and machine learning can take fans from arrival in the parking lot to their seats. Imagine a stadium-centric app that can help you find the best place to park, give simple navigation to your seat, show you locations and merchandise in concessions and stores, and guide you to landmarks and interactive experiences in the stadium.
Imagine a mobile app that’s the Shazam of the sports world. Take a picture of or look up a player and click around the image on your phone to get info. Want a team jersey with your player’s name on the back? Click to buy. Want to get a player’s current stats—heart rate, speed in the last play—from a sensor in their jersey? Tap to view. Possible uses of sports tech are endless—and they’re going to be groundbreaking.
The Opportunities Ahead
Watch for more new, privately funded venues designed for the modern fan. Existing stadiums/arenas are being retrofitted with upgraded infrastructures to support technology needs. We’re seeing more mixed-use venues that combine an arena, restaurants, hotels, and retail for an all-around fan experience. The speed of technology is accelerating the implementation of how fans create their game day experiences. There’s a boom happening right now in the sports industry, where a variety of startups have emerged over the last five years or so to create integrated tech.
- TeamRunner provides a unique service that aims to “change the way teams travel” by uniting everything they need to facilitate this process in one, single app and interface. They’ve actually partnered up with brands and businesses in the travel industry to offer exclusive opportunities. This is important, and goes to show the incredible potential these kinds of systems have for everyone, not just sports professionals.
- CrowdKing has developed an augmented reality platform for enterprises, which will increase fan engagement across the professional sports industry.
- The opportunity for tech in sports is being recognized more widely by groups like the Sports & Entertainment Alliance in Technology (SEAT) where global leaders in the industry join together with top firms for a collaborative, open discussion around best practices, case studies, technology insights, and leadership. Other organizations like Women in Sports and Entertainment (WISE) and the STEAM Sports Group are emerging in an effort to advance the industry and accelerate opportunities by uniting businesses, increasing awareness, organizing education, and creating jobs.
Mobility is Key
Today’s fans want (and can get) on-demand access to practically anything. Mobility supports the ultimate fan experience. There really is no off-season when mobile solutions can keep everyone connected no matter where they are or what time it is.
Avaya’s 21st-century technology and solutions are drivers for the digital transformation that needs to take place in stadium venues throughout the world to support a more immersive fan experience, before, during, and after game days. This includes:
- Team engagement experiences through Avaya Equinox that keeps teams connected with doctors, coaches, and each other.
- Mobile fan engagement environments open themselves up to integration with a stadium Mobile App and Fan Engagement Wall for more social, mobile-first, immersive on-site and in-person experiences.
- Customer engagement gets help from more advanced contact center solutions leveraging stadium Mobile App technology for seamless ticketing through Ticketmaster integration and on-demand contact center support.
It’s exciting to see what’s ahead and to be a part of groups, teams, start-ups and organizations that want to explore this new frontier where technology will be the accelerator.