May 5, 2017

How Sports Tech is Transforming the Participant and Spectator Sporting Experience

Sports play an integral role in people’s lives. Whether it’s watching professional football, creating a bracket for college basketball championship games, or enrolling your kids in a tennis class at the local club, people love spectating, commenting, and engaging in sporting activities. However, the act of watching a game or simply going for run is very different today than when I was growing up. Clubs, leagues, players, media companies, colleges and even high schools are now all investing in technology to make games more interesting and engaging to fans. From tweaking every last ounce of an athlete’s performance to enhancing the overall participation experience, sports technology is reshaping how we interact with sports. In this month’s "Insights On," I asked our portfolio companies Beamr, Kiip, and Ringly how technology is impacting the sports industry and emerging sports trends.

More Immersive Experiences

The landscape of sports video is transforming because audiences expect more from the teams and sponsors they love. Modern sporting audiences are no longer satisfied with sitting back and watching the game. Instead, they want to be immersed in an experience that offers bi-lateral interactivity. This year, we'll start to see three things: 1) aggregated data visualization that provides an overlay of a player’s stat, bio, or noteworthy news, 2) 360-degree experiences that provide first person angles from each player's perspective or 360-degree video right from the stadium, and 3) more personalization with experiences that are catered to the viewer’s interests. We'll see more video innovation as higher order entertainment experiences will require more bandwidth than is available with a mobile network.”

- Mark Donnigan, VP of Marketing at Beamr

Capitalizing on “Moments” 

"For advertisers, they need to think beyond the flashy arena sponsorships and game time TV ad deals. They should be thinking about the other things that people are doing during games - whipping out their phone to play games, react to record breakers, text friends, or search for stats to prove their friends wrong. The key is to target those breaks, or "moments." with the right mix of content and tech. We think rewarding winning moments can be extremely powerful and an opportunity for brands to connect with their audiences.”

- Brian Wong, Founder & CEO of Kiip

Continued Advancements in Wearables

Wearable technology continues to help make our lifestyles happier and healthier, and help us be more mindful about our productivity. Technological advancements in sensors, AI, power, and connectivity are enhancing the capabilities of smart devices that will help us in ways we never thought possible. Similar to how you choose different clothing and shoes for different activities and sports, you'll soon be able to choose the wearable that matches your lifestyle and activities.”

- Christina Mercando d'Avignon, Founder & CEO of Ringly


For spectators and participants, technology plays a critical role in how we view live sports and gather insights. One of our portfolio companies, mitú, is working with Major League Baseball to deliver exclusive digital content to multicultural youth. Mitú is leveraging technology to not only maximize engagement with the league’s diverse audience through tailored content, but also measure the audience’s response. It’s clear that sports technology will continue to grow and boost engagement from fans and personal users alike. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in this field (pun intended).

Tags: Wearables , Kiip , eSports , Paul Heitlinger , AdTech , Ringly , Beamr