Jan 04, 2021

Technology in Sports: Which Innovations Will Be Trending In 2021?

Technology in Sports: Which Innovations Will Be Trending In 2021?

2020 has been a hell of a challenging year. But it has finally come to an end!

2020 ⇒ 2021

Symbolically, a new year is always a time of incoming changes. What should we expect when it comes to trending technologies in the sports industry in 2021? Check it out in this article! 

POST-PANDEMIC PERSPECTIVE

COVID-19 pandemic has changed the perspective of many sports clubs on their everyday operations. Sponsors became more demanding, fans no longer attended the games, Match Days still were crucial in fan engagement, but the communication had to become fully digital.

All these unexpected changes made the sports clubs look for new ways to reshape revenue models, create original monetisation opportunities and use innovative methods to build modern relationships with their fans

What technologies will have the biggest impact on the sports industry in 2021 then? Check our nine [9!] suggestions!

1. 5G TECHNOLOGY

5G technology has already begun to have a strong impact on the way we watch and play sports. All the data and use cases show that it will keep becoming more influential in the next months, especially when it comes to personalising content.

Micheal Sutherland, Chief Transformation Officer at Real Madrid, emphasised its importance at the WFS Live summit – 5G brings up an entirely new world of communication. It means a chance of providing richer content and gathering more precise information. As a consequence, consumer expectations are going to evolve. In the long term, 5G will completely change the fans’ expectations regarding their interactions with sports brands.

5G technology modernises the way we’re broadcasting and streaming sports events. It improves the in-stadium connectivity, enhances daily fan engagement and brings tremendous change to the performance analysis and remote coaching. 

Simply saying, 5G will positively impact almost all the other technologies we will mention in this article. You should be aware of the advantages it brings and use them properly!

2. FAN ENGAGEMENT TOOLS

Digital transformation?

Never again the innovative revolution that organisations can introduce. Now, a must for sports clubs to stay in the game with attracting and engaging fans.

To implement it efficiently, there’s no other way but to use innovative fan engagement tools based on the best digital solutions.

Technology in Sports: Which Innovations Will Be Trending In 2021?

CMS created specifically for your sports club. Graphical tools that help you in being consistent with your brand identity. Social media management tools that let you post content on all your channels simultaneously.

That’s the basis of any well-functioning sports club that aims to be the best on the market. 

For that reason, TISA has created UMPIRE and BRISK, two tools that will allow you to bring your sports brand to another level in terms of (digital) content creation and publishing.

3. IN-STADIUM IMPROVEMENTS

We can’t predict the future. We can only guess what it may look like. In many countries, football federations decided either to close the stadiums completely or to keep them open only for a limited number of people. 

Will it change in 2021? Hopefully, yes! But there is no certainty, so in-stadium improvements will start trending only once we manage to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, as it will most probably happen in either 2021 or 2022, it’s worth knowing what in-stadium improvements will be there waiting for the fans of the best clubs in the world. First of all, thanks to 5G technology, there will appear a possibility to guarantee better connectivity with the internet to the fans and collect more precise data about their behaviour.

Technology in Sports: Which Innovations Will Be Trending In 2021?

Another thing that slowly gains popularity is making the Match Day a premium experience. It means that those who decide to go to the stadiums may expect to have premium possibilities such as ordering food and products to the seating places through sports clubs’ mobile applications.

Some sports organisations also go in the direction of implementing their loyalty programme cards inside mobile applications. Olivier Jarosz, in one of our KNOW THE SCOREs [check here], also mentioned the public transit systems incorporated in the clubs’ mobile apps. 

This premium offer means a dedicated concierge service approach to all – highlights Olivier Jarosz. – For example, before you reach the stadium, you will already know how long you will be in traffic jams, the best public transportation connections, where you will buy food, when the children will get attention and so on. In a word, a “tailor-made” approach will conquer the market.

4. AR, VR, MR – WHICH REALITY DO YOU LIKE THE MOST

The magic of modern times. You put on the “glasses”, and you’re immediately entering an entirely different reality. A few decades go, completely out of our imagination. Now, the technology that slowly conquers the market and becomes available at a lower cost.

Technology in Sports: Which Innovations Will Be Trending In 2021?

Virtual Reality (VR) is an environment that uses cameras, sensors, joysticks or suits to make you become a part of an alternative world.

Augmented Reality (AR) stands for technology that allows you to see additional things or characters in the real world. It’s the combination of computer-based data with our reality. The most famous example of such a solution is the Pokemon Go app.

Mixed Reality (MR) has one essential difference in comparison to Augmented Reality. The virtual objects and characters can interact with the real ones making the two worlds cooperate.

In terms of sports, VR, AR and MR may be used both to engage fans and to improve your athletes’ performance.

For the fans that can’t attend the games, Virtual Reality may constitute a substitution of the in-stadium experience.

For those people that want to be more than usual fans, Augmented Reality (or Mixed Reality) will give sports clubs a chance to share valuable statistics and insights in an extraordinarily innovative manner.

Finally, when it comes to the sports clubs performance, VR, AR and MR might significantly impact the tactical training of the players. Why? Because it will allow them to see different situations on the pitch from the real-live positions. For coaches, it will strongly facilitate the process of sharing knowledge with their players.

5. BLOCKCHAIN ⇒ TOKENIZATION

Blockchain is a specific type of database which stores information in blocks that are chained together. It might bring various benefits to the sports industry starting from enhancing fan experience, through providing new monetisation opportunities, up to creating entirely new markets for exclusive services trading.

We currently see a massive boom in blockchain when it comes to implementing Fan Tokens in sports clubs. FC Barcelona, AS Roma, Juventus F.C. or Atlético Madrid – that’s just a few names of powerful global players that have already decided to implement tokens in their communities.

In sports clubs, Tokenization works best when it’s closely connected to the loyalty programs, which we discussed in detail in one of our articles [check here].

Technology in Sports: Which Innovations Will Be Trending In 2021?

It’s also worth mentioning that there are two approaches to the implementation of tokens. The differentiation is between Utility Tokens and Security Tokens. The former is based on providing your community with products or services that can be exchanged for tokens. The latter stands for the possibility to generate profit by buying and selling them. All the details about this issue you can check here.

6. “TO OTT OR NOT TO OTT”

Over-the-top (OTT) viewing is one of the truly disrupting and innovative trends in content distribution amongst leading global sports organisations. This technology is predominantly based on the Internet connection to provide fans with highly appealing videos (and other TV derivatives). It significantly contributes to the development of fan engagement.

Should all sports clubs decide “to OTT”? We’ve covered the detailed answer for this question in one of our articles, which you can check here. Nonetheless, if you want to know the short one, here it is:

All clubs that want to become leaders in providing top-quality fan engagement should use OTT (or OTT-like) tools. However, to implement it efficiently, you need to be ready to become a media house. It requires the top-bottom change in the mentality of your organisation. Are you ready for that? If yes, don’t hesitate!

7. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in sports is the derivative of the modern possibility to gather precise and extended data about the players’ performance. In terms of the sports industry, experts indicate that AI will have the biggest impact on bettering the teams’ results and scouting more valuable players worldwide.

Technology in Sports: Which Innovations Will Be Trending In 2021?

Big data? Big opportunities! That’s the easiest way to describe the power of algorithms and artificial intelligence in bettering our decision-making process. The use of artificial intelligence should make predicting sports competitions’ outcomes more reliable, which will contribute to the better allocation of resources.

8. SINGLE SIGN-ON (SSO)

SSO forms one of the instruments for identity and data management. Thanks to it, all the applications and systems connected within one sports organisation might “collect and process data to one place”.

SSO is the tool that you need to collect precise information that can later be analysed by your algorithms (AI) or by your most experienced specialists.

For sports clubs, tools like WICKET, constitute a perfect data-management platform that facilitates personalisation in marketing and sales campaigns. SSO might also contribute to the lower costs of data maintenance.

Moreover, if implemented with the visualisation tools, it might make data become easy-to-understand even for non-analytical people. The more employees understand the data you have, the greater your club’s chances of coming up with new, successful solutions.

9. GAMIFICATION – “GEN Z” ENGAGEMENT

It’s challenging to create a communication strategy that will appeal to Generation Z. Young people are used to having many entertainment options and prefer to keep trying new things than becoming devoted to one.

Moreover, companies that fight for Gen Z attention constantly offer them more and more complex possibilities. That’s why any type of entertainment which not only lets young people enjoy the show, but also makes them participate in it, is a game-changer for “winning” them.

Technology in Sports: Which Innovations Will Be Trending In 2021?

One of the trending technologies that allow sports clubs and federations to do it are fantasy leagues and Esports competitions. Those brands that understand how to use the concept of gamification to engage young people will be the most interesting for them.

Gen Z’s dream is to become leaders, not followers. The more your brand will be associated with it, the greater your chance of bringing young people to your club.

CONCLUSION

Trending technologies in sports in 2021? Predictions are useful for catching a moment, but they barely meet the reality perfectly. Life tends to surprise us, which makes our world more exciting!

Do you have any other ideas on which innovations might conquer the market in 2021? Feel free to contact us!