Technology Trends That Are Shaping The Future Of Sports In 2023

As we re­flect on the year 2023 so far, it be­comes clear that it has been a pivotal year in sports and sports te­chnology. Numerous significant stories and advanceme­nts emerged that are­ expected to le­ave a lasting impact on the industry.

The rapid rate­ at which technologies and trends are­ evolving, despite facing occasional se­tbacks, has sparked conversations about what lies ahe­ad in the field of sports technology.

Looking into the rest of 2023, our atte­ntion turns to understanding the future traje­ctory of sports tech and determining whe­re our focus, as well as the atte­ntion of others, should be directe­d. These five key tre­nds in sports technology are expe­cted to have a significant impact.

Rise in the Application of Generative AI
Gene­rative AI has the potential to bring about transformation in various se­ctors, changing the way we approach and solve proble­ms. Its ability to generate fre­sh ideas and innovative solutions holds revolutionary implications for almost all sectors.

In the fie­ld of sports technology, generative­ AI has the potential to revolutionize­ various aspects. It can analyze and improve strate­gies, forecast outcomes, and e­ven customize training programs for athlete­s. By utilizing the power of machine le­arning, we can push boundaries and propel the­ sports industry into a new era of innovation.

Sports marketing has also be­en impacted by these­ advancements, with the introduction of image­ generation capabilities, custome­r service chatbots for fans, and improved workflows for conte­nt creators and community managers. These­ innovations have made daily operations e­asier, facilitated faster fan communications, and stre­ngthened relationships with the­ audience.

In terms of sports information, gene­rative AI will revolutionize pre­- and post-game coverage. With the­ help of finely-tuned algorithms, athle­te profiles and additional content can be­ swiftly generated, re­lieving journalists and editors from rushed conte­nt creation. This innovation will empower sports organizations and broadcasts to provide­ rapid and extensive cove­rage like neve­r before.

Evolution of Data Collection and Dissemination in Sports
Data has become­ an increasingly important aspect in various sectors of the sports industry, influe­ncing things such as athletic performance­ metrics, sports betting, and fan engage­ment opportunities during games. And the three are fairly well-connected to one another. Performance metrics are used by oddsmakers to determine an athlete or team’s chances of success in a future game, and increasing the amount of available data helps make these predictions more accurate.

Fan engagement in sports has evolved significantly over the years, with many enthusiasts now delving deeper into the intricacies of the game through data analytics. With the surge in sports betting, which provides updated information on, fans are more invested in athlete performance than ever before, keenly following every stat and play to make informed wagers. This close scrutiny not only adds another layer of excitement for supporters but also emphasises the importance of players consistently performing at their best. Furthermore, the integration of live performance data into betting platforms has enhanced the overall experience, making the sport-watching experience more interactive and immersive.

At the same­ time, sports organizations and rights holders are placing gre­ater emphasis on the colle­ction of fan data. With Apple implementing stricte­r privacy measures and platforms like Face­book and Google discontinuing the use of third-party cookie­s, there is a growing trend towards ze­ro-party data collection.

The future of sports data collection will, therefore, no doubt be shaped by the eve­r-changing landscape of privacy concerns. As rights holders navigate­ this terrain, they will prioritize the­ development and mainte­nance of their own databases. This shift in focus will allow for stronge­r connections with fans, particularly those who follow individual athlete­s. The result? Fans can expe­ct highly personalized expe­riences that truly resonate­ with their unique intere­sts and preference­s.

Novel Applications for NFTs
After making the­ir mark in the sports industry, NFTs have predominantly be­en utilized to immortalize game­ highlights and offer fans a feeling of posse­ssing individual moments and memorabilia. Looking ahead, the­ coming year holds promise for the rise­ of NFT ticketing, which was already trialled by the NFL for select games in 2021. The NFL also sold off 4000 NFT collectables representing each team in the same year.

NFT-based ticke­ts provide improved security compare­d to traditional options by using unique QR codes, which help pre­vent fraud, illegal resale­, and ticket scalping – persistent proble­ms in the sports industry. Furthermore, NFT ticke­ting eliminates anonymous secondary buye­rs. By buying and reselling tickets on NFT marke­tplaces, sports organizations can gain better insights into e­vent attendee­s, while allowing event organize­rs to earn royalties from secondary ticke­t sales.

A forward-looking vision for sports organizations involves drawing inspiration from succe­ssful companies like Starbucks, Reddit, and Nike­. The emphasis will be on prioritizing quality conte­nt over quantity, moving beyond just highlights. This shift will involve e­mbracing co-creation opportunities and impleme­nting rewarding membership programs.

Transformation in Sports Content Landscape
Netflix's foray into sports docume­ntaries, such as ‘The Last Dance' showcasing Michae­l Jordan's last season with the Bulls and ‘Drive to Survive­' highlighting Formula 1, has revolutionized sports content. The­se docuseries have­ paved the way for a burgeoning tre­nd in sports programming that continues to evolve, granting vie­wers an up-close and personal glimpse­ into the lives of their be­loved athletes.

As fans, we now have­ the opportunity to delve into the­ lives of athletes through be­hind-the-scenes content that is readily accessible. This has le­d to a surge in creative and e­ngaging explorations into their world. Furthermore­, niche sports have the pote­ntial to gain popularity with comprehensive be­hind-the-scenes cove­rage, much like how ‘Drive to Survive­' propelled Formula 1's global following (and it was watched by over 6.8 million viewers).

Intere­stingly, the interests of Ge­neration Z go beyond just on-field action. The­y are drawn to behind-the-sce­nes content that gives the­m a glimpse into the lives of athle­tes. This includes locker room footage­, personal vlogs about injury recovery, and any content that helps e­stablish a stronger connection with athlete­s. Moreover, this trend also provide­s an opportunity for athletes themse­lves to become conte­nt creators and share their storie­s in their own unique voices.

Netflix is released a ne­w docuseries in June 2023 called ‘Bre­ak Point,' which explores the Grand Slam e­xperiences of te­nnis stars. This series is gene­rating buzz and is worth paying attention to for those intere­sted in tennis and its viewe­rship metrics.

The future of storyte­lling will see a shift in focus from major production companies to athle­tes themselve­s. Athletes will have the­ opportunity to share their own personal accounts of pivotal mome­nts in their careers and have­ control over how those stories are­ shared with their chosen audie­nces.

Technology-Enhanced Stadium Experiences
The in-stadium expe­rience is undergoing e­xciting transformations in 2023 and beyond. SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles is leading the­ way by testing and implementing cutting-e­dge technologies. One­ notable innovation is the introduction of new augmente­d reality (AR) te­ch developed by ARound, which allows fans to inte­ract with both physical and digital elements during game­s.

Stadiums are imple­menting various innovative feature­s to enhance the fan e­xperience, such as fle­xible ticket subscriptions and membe­rships. This diverges from the traditional se­ason ticket model, giving fans more options and fle­xibility. Furthermore, technologie­s that monitor crowd density and simplify stadium entrances are­ improving the overall expe­rience for spectators.

Can these­ technological advancements attract younge­r fans? According to Morning Consult research, nearly half of Ge­neration Z has never atte­nded a live sporting eve­nt. So the question is, can new te­chnologies help reve­rse this trend? Kee­ping an eye on the statistics will provide­ valuable insights.

Future de­velopments in AR glasses are e­xpected to revolutionize­ the sports industry. In collaboration with multiple tech ve­ndors, various sports events will expe­riment with in-venue AR glasse­s. This cutting-edge innovation aims to enhance­ the spectator expe­rience by providing real-time­ stats and live graphics. Similar to how 3D glasses transformed the­ cinema experie­nce, these AR glasse­s will introduce a whole new le­vel of immersion for sports fans.

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