Digital transformation defining future of sports industry

Every industry in the world has been impacted or influenced by technology and the sports sector is no expectation. Sports today is not simply about physical fitness and real-life events, it has been transformed by the emerging technology and these tech innovations are transforming the sports industry positively. 

With the help of technology, sports have become more safe and competitive. Tech has also helped in improving fan experience, adding to their experience and also bringing them more opportunities to connect with players and the game at large. A decade ago, fans were not as deeply involved or fully grasped the current state of the industry as they do today and that is simply how technology has contributed to the industry.

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Here are some examples of what the sports industry has built over the years with the help of emerging technologies:

Fantasy Sports Leagues
To give sports enthusiasts an immersive experience to help them stay hooked to their favorite sports, Fantasy sports leagues have been introduced. They help fans enter a fantasy league as general managers who then develop their own teams based on the present day occurrences in the sports tournaments. With the help of the internet, it has been convenient for any sports fan today to be part of a fantasy league and manage their own. Fans via this medium can keep track of various player performances, stats and decide how to manage their team, who to add and whom to replace. 

Data, stats and analytics
Never has it been easier to maintain player statistics. Technology has made it possible to track each individual player’s stats. One such example is SportVU, a program that records every occurrence on the basketball court, such as where the ball will pass/ is passing and further progress of the athlete.

Today, there are sports data analytics start-ups that are focused on single games/ sports like Kabaddi, Cricket, Football, Tennis and many others with a set of data scientists who have built a sea of information from each game, each series and tournament for the players, teams and overall sports. With the help of these data points, teams/ managers can now make improvements in their play, and employ/ stats to enhance their game strategy and lead their team to wins.

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Novel wearables
These wearable devices today expand beyond just a Fitbit band or the basic pedometers. The variety and their versatility in the functioning is not simply astonishing but also very commendable to expand our vision into what they can detect and offer as data.

From smart glasses for cyclists that help to build and show routes in real-times to goggles for swimmers that collect information metrics on the go, sensor-enabled shoes for football players and runners for track-speed, force, motion and more.

There are also full body suits today that track performance and muscle coordination, monitor each aspect during training and help enhance the experience with AR/VR effects. Not simply do these wearables work for professionals but also people who are undergoing therapy/ rehabilitation after traumas.

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eSports
One of the most recent sport technology advancements is the digital gaming industry for sports that has been under a boom. This includes eRacing, fighting games, shooters and much more which is built around the PC gaming and mobile gaming further enhanced and supported by the immersive experiences of AR/VR technologies.

Cloud
Another key digital technology in the sports industry is Cloud. Today the modern cloud platforms enable global distribution, offering wider scalability and efficiency of almost any online sports solution. This includes fitness apps for many consumers worldwide to professional athlete performance analytics.

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Blockchain and NFT
These two widely popular IT technologies have had a great impact in sports. They in fact are two of the major drivers in sports today.

Fan token, digital collectables, digital tickets, loyalty programs, multiple collaborations with digital businesses for curated and limited edition collectables and more are bringing an audience of million closer to their desired clubs, sports teams, events etc. All powered by Blockchain and NFT technologies.

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Some other key drivers from technology’s viewpoint are also seen in sports equipment. Today we have smart workouts equipements enabled with sensors to help avoid injuries and enhance efficiency, connected gear like smart suits, glasses, helmets etc that offer essential insights for building training programs, enhanced sports areas that are large facilities like stadiums, racing tracks etc with enhanced sensors, electricity management systems and more that helps these facilities turn into smarter work spaces.

There is also no doubt that the major trends are  influenced by IoT and AI, both of which have made a big impact on the industry. We can only wait to see how this sector expands further to offer immersive experience via metaverse in years to come.

Author: Mankiran

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