Does the Sports Industry Care about The Winning Line or the Bottom Line? First Sports Technology Annual Review and Power List Out Today
Is Global Sports’ Technology-Focus the Winning Line or the Bottom Line?
Having discussed the concept and the content for the past year, it is with great excitement and a touch of relief that the inaugural Sports Technology Annual Review was published today.
We work in a sector that is rich with data but, probably as the market is an immature one, insights are yet to be freely shared.
A huge debt of thanks goes to the English Institute of Sport (EIS); the comprehension they have into technology supporting all aspects of sports performance has been truly staggering but more than that, the passion the whole team has for how technology is shaping the sector is wonderful to witness.
What makes that point especially pertinent, now that we have formalized our findings, is that the ethos of a tech-forward mindset is so fundamental to so many sports which are truly innovative – and arguably innovated their way through 2020 the most successfully. It has been said that you don’t get to the top of Everest simply by showing up and wandering about and, in authoring this report, we’ve found this to be true of running a nimble brand or organization in sport. Having the mindset of being open to technology, facilitating its adoption from the top-down, being very clear about the purpose each technology serves in your organization, and then measuring its success in achieving this sounds simple but how often have great ideas fallen foul of over-complication? The brands we included in the Power List were the ones who kept things simple and got it right.
It bears making the point that keeping things simple is not the same as being unambitious. The concepts we’ve witnessed collectively – of which there are thousands – are often hugely complex ‘under the bonnet’ but they appear simple at the point of end use. The developers, marketers, producers or visionaries thought beyond a single-minded proposition, but where they achieved stand out delivery was almost invariably via one step or concept at a time.
A key part of The Review was the inaugural Sports Technology Power List. Debating this was as fun and it was informative; each party had their own list of brands which they pitched along with the rationale for each’s inclusion. If you ever think your knowledge of a subject is exhaustive or your viewpoint solid, taking part in an exercise like this is hugely instructive!
One final thought on the insights shared was the balance of geographies of those present; it seems that the UK and Europe innovate, the US adopts. As a Brit I am delighted that the UK sector is such a power-house – especially after a challenging 2020 – but there is amazing tech emerging in markets which just didn’t feature this time, Israel being the most obvious example.
In conclusion, and to answer the point raised by the title of this piece, is the sector focussing on the bottom line or the finishing line? We see more technology emerging that targets the suits of sport, rather than the tracksuits by a fair margin. However, as with anything relating to winning, coaches and teams strive to keep their ‘secret sauce’ secret, so less proprietary performance technology gets shared for scrutiny. So, whether your interest is financial or reaching the finals, don’t worry, there’s lots of great tech out their for you.