Sports Technology

CES® 2020: Game Day for Sports Technology

Overview CES 2020 conference sessions about sports technology covered the ways organizations, including the NFL and Formula 1, are using technology to revolutionize the sports industry.

Sports technology visionaries, athletes and experts from the industry convened on the CES 2020 stage to discuss the trends associated with the intersection of technology and sports.


The Fan Experience

Technology has redefined the way companies reach their fans, both on and off the field. From more frictionless ways of entering stadiums and purchasing merchandise to during-game engagements, numerous enhancements showcase the ways sports companies are harnessing technology to make fan enjoyment is a priority.

“There is a need to think holistically about the guest experience journey, and what those intersection points are where technology can help,” said Skarpi Hedinsson, chief technology officer, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park, on the Tech Has Changed the Live Sports Experience panel.

Michelle McKenna, chief information officer of the NFL, said during the NFL on the Digital Frontier session, “It all starts with the game. If you keep that in mind, and you work to increase competitiveness and fan engagement, then you’ll find champions to help push it through.”

Beyond roster decisions, improving performance and optimizing coaching, data analytics and research are now also being used to identify new revenue streams and enhance the fan experience.

Matt Roberts, director of research and analytics at Formula 1, shared on the State of Sports Analytics panel how sensors and detailed data led the company to change merchandise placements and create curated events that suite their fan’s habits during races.

The Immersive Media Evolves to Win the Fluid Fan panel discussed how new, digital-savvy fans are changing the way sports is being consumed and opening up opportunities to attract audiences through new platforms.

Sports Betting

One growing area in sports is sports betting, which creates a skin-in-the-game connection between the bettor and the sport, attracting a deeper emotional engagement with a sport.

Sara Slane, founder of Slane Advisory, highlighted during the Future of Sports Betting panel that as sports betting becomes more prominent, there will be a player acclimation period for segments who are new to betting.

“Women are a whole market that has potential [in sports betting], as is those who have never bet before, and it’s how you get them educated enough to be interested,” she said.

The panelists all saw massive growth in the proliferation of betting, as well as more focus on curbing illegal sports betting in the future.

Sports and Tech in Perfect Harmony

Looking ahead, technological advances in artificial intelligence, 5G, XR, streaming and more are set to drive the next generation of sports.

The Next Generation Olympics panel discussed how drones and virtual reality are making the Olympics and Paralympics accessible and sustainable, and keeping the games, which are often synonymous with high performance, at the forefront of technology for positive change.

From making sports-watching more comfortable for fans to attracting new business streams for sports teams and companies, technology and sports are now evolving hand in hand.

Watch more sports content from CES 2020.

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