Sport is a huge business. Whether you are watching football, rugby, tennis, or motor racing, you’ll find in the top flight there is a whole range of technology deployed to improve the athlete’s condition and techniques.
As such, to ensure sport remains in the public eye there is a vast range of sports marketing trends that are used on a daily basis to promote the sport. Where there is money there is marketing and technology.
With this in mind, let’s look at the trends and technology that bring sport to your phones and TVs when you’re watching on your favourite sports site or TV programme.
AI (Artificial intelligence)
AI is already everywhere and is being developed all the time. You have probably encountered a chatbot that answers your questions and provides you with information, pointing you in the right direction.
FC Arsenal has developed their own chatbot named after Arsenal football legend Robert Pires called Robot Pires. Whereas Robert was a wizard on the pitch, Robot is a wizard on your phone, keeping fans updated with results statistics, news, and exclusive videos from the English Premier League club.
AI is in part all about data and utilising it. So an advantage Robot Pires gives Arsenal is that it can record what content the fans interact with best. This is then used by the club to give fans what they want.
It also keeps Arsenal in touch with their fans and they use this platform to deliver promotions and it shows the club is innovative.
This is just one example where AI can be deployed to enhance the end-user experience.
Of course, a fast internet connection is also needed. As the technology moves forward the capabilities of Robot Pires will also improve.
OTT (Over the Top) Content
Put in simple terms, OTT content is where the content can be viewed on any device independently. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Facebook are good examples of where content can be streamed directly from the provider, bypassing traditional media limitations.
Although in Europe this has yet to take hold, in other parts of the world streaming sports via Facebook is not uncommon. For example, Spain’s top flight Primera Division runs exclusively on Facebook, with additional rights utilised by Twitter. Facebook has also secured the rights to the World Surf League, paying up to $30 million for a two-year deal.
Where social media companies can make a real mint is that their AI collects user data which is then mined for marketing opportunities. This advertising is almost precision like and tends to generate profits for businesses that advertise via these platforms.
Let’s not forget that Amazon has the largest online shop in the world, and users see big sporting matches giving the shopping giants great pay per view opportunities.
The wearables market is huge and in the US alone it turns over $95 billion annually. This is set to grow as possibilities are explored and developed.
Today’s wearables do more than count your step. Insoles are now available that analyse how you run which helps you refine your technique to run more efficiently and effectively. They also track how far and how fast you run. This information can be utilised to improve your performance and track progress.
The wearable market isn’t limited to sport but it is not a stretch to think that soon every aspect of sporting technique will be trackable and as such improvable. When this happens, humanity will arguably enter a new era of sporting performance as the cycling marginal gains concept will be pushed far beyond what it is now.
Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality
Another trend that will be used to enhance sport is virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. The reason it has not been as widely deployed as wearables is that it has been cost prohibitive. This is rapidly changing, however, and applications are being developed to help an athlete in a variety of ways.
Consider, what a road cyclist could do with augmented reality glasses. Windspeed, gradient, and rider position could all be shown in real-time. Coaching information could be passed through the glasses, so the rider would know when to initiate a lead-out.
Imagine a football manager wearing glasses that gave him real-time stats of his team and alerted him when players drifted out of position. We have already seen the impact VAR has had on football, augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology would make VAR seem primitive by comparison.
eSports is huge and growing fast. Gaming, in of itself generates $37 billion annually worldwide. Now eSports is established with teams being formed based on real sport coaching techniques and structure, money has flowed and is flowing into it. This, in turn, is being leveraged by marketers to sell sponsorship, ad space, and the like.
Sports marketing and technology are developing fast. Blink and your wearable will be outmoded.