Sport is big business. Whether you watch football, rugby, tennis or motor racing, you will find in the high flight a range of technologies are deployed to improve athlete well-being terms and techniques.
As such, to ensure that the sport remains in the public eye, there is a wide range of sports marketing trends that are used daily to promote the sport. Where there is money there is marketing and technology.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the trends and technology that are bringing sports to your phones and TVs when watching your favorite sports site or TV show.
AI (artificial intelligence)
AI is already everywhere and growing all the time. You’ve probably encountered a chatbot that answers your questions and provides information, pointing you in the right direction.
FC Arsenal has developed its own chatbot named after Arsenal soccer legend Robert Pires called Robot Pires. While Robert was a magician on the pitch, Robot is a magician on your phone, keeping fans up to date with score stats, news and exclusive videos from the English Premier League club.
AI is partly about data and how it is used. So one advantage Robot Pires gives Arsenal is that it can record the content that fans interact with best. This is then used by the club to give the fans what they want.
It also allows Arsenal to keep in touch with their fans and they use this platform to offer promotions and it shows that the club is innovative.
This is just one example where AI can be deployed to improve the end user experience.
Of course, a fast internet connection is also required. As technology advances, Robot Pires’ abilities will also improve.
OTT (Over the Top) content
Simply put, OTT content is where content can be viewed independently on any device. Netflix, Amazon Prime and Facebook are good examples where content can be streamed directly from the provider, bypassing the limitations of traditional media.
Although in Europe it has yet to take hold, in other parts of the world sports streaming via Facebook is not uncommon. For example, Spanish premier league Primera Division operates exclusively on Facebook, with additional rights used by Twitter. Facebook also secured the rights to the World Surf League, paying up to $30 million for a two-year contract.
Where social media companies can mint is when their AI collects user data which is then mined for marketing opportunities. This ad is almost accurate and tends to generate profit for businesses that advertise through these platforms.
Let’s not forget that Amazon has the largest online store in the world, and users see major sports matches providing shopping giants with great pay-per-view opportunities.
The wearables market is huge and in the United States alone it generates more than $95 billion a year. This is bound to grow as opportunities are explored and developed.
Today’s wearable devices do more than count your steps. Insoles are now available that analyze the way you run, helping you refine your technique to run more efficiently and effectively. They also track the distance and speed at which you run. This information can be used to improve your performance and track your progress.
The wearable market is not limited to sports, but it is no exaggeration to think that soon all aspects of sports technology will be traceable and as such improvable. When this happens, humanity will no doubt enter a new era performance, as cycling’s concept of marginal gains will be taken far beyond what it is today.
Virtual, augmented and mixed reality
Another trend that will be used to improve sports is virtual, augmented and mixed reality. The reason it hasn’t been deployed as widely as wearable devices is because it’s cost prohibitive. However, this is rapidly changing and apps are being developed to help an athlete in various ways.
Consider what a road cyclist could do with augmented reality glasses. Wind speed, slope and pilot position could all be displayed in real time. Workout information could be transmitted through the goggles, so the runner knows when to initiate a ride.
Imagine a football manager wearing glasses that give him real-time stats about his team and alert him when players stray from their position. We have already seen the impact VAR has had on football, augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology would make VAR primitive in comparison.
eSports is huge and growing rapidly. Gaming alone generates $37 billion a year worldwide. Now that eSports is established with teams formed based on real sports coaching techniques and structure, the money has been flowing and flowing into it. This, in turn, is exploited by marketers to sell sponsorship, advertising space, etc.
Sports marketing and technology are developing rapidly. Blink and your laptop will be old fashioned.