The Stats of Sports Tech

November 8, 2019
Generic Cover Photo with Global Partners

Let’s Get Quizzical!

It’s always interesting to read past predictions and see how close the forecaster came to be the sport’s sector Nostradamus.

Thanks to the knowledge gained from six years’ worth of entries and the expert guidance of industry-leading judges, the Sports Technology Awards is uniquely placed to take a view on how past predictions have hit the mark. Pit your knowledge against the forecasters and see if you should be in the business of predictions…

  1. VR will be a fundamental part of fan engagement within the next 5-10 years – What year was this predicted?
  2. The wearables industry is expected to be worth over $53 billion by 2019 – What is the actual figure?
  3. Esports will mimic and need guidance from traditional sports – What was the esports viewer figures for 2018?
  4. In 2019 sports betting in the USA will be legal – How many states have legalized sports betting so far?
  5. Paper ticketing will soon be extinct – What year was this predicted?

 

So How Did You Do?

Members of the STA Group’s WhatsApp community were recently treated to a fun quiz, which tested their sports tech stats knowledge. We chose five areas of sports innovation, along with some historical predictions, to see how far the gaps were between the forecast and the reality…

VR (virtual reality) will be a fundamental part of fan engagement within the next 5-10 years – What year was this predicted?

Answer: 2014

There is greater connection being created for fans between the physical and digital worlds; currently this is primarily an AR (augmented reality) not a VR phenomenon, with activities such as virtual prize cannons (where phones catch virtual merchandise) and treasure hunts using both AR and sponsored QR code scanning. As rights holders strive to engage younger fans, expect to see much more of this.

The wearables industry is expected to be worth over $53 billion by 2019 – What is the actual figure?

Answer: $25 billion

This prediction was made in 2010 but as of September 2019, the wearables industry was valued at ‘only’ $25 billion. Whilst the prediction may have missed the mark, wearables have become a vital component of sports, for both the elite athlete and the mass market.

The Sports Technology Awards has seen two of its previous winners go on to make a significant impact on both these markets. Winners in 2017 – StatsSports, have enjoyed success at the highest level of sport, in 2018 the company signed a £1bn deal with the US Soccer Federation, which resulted in the world’s largest player data monitoring program. The winners of the coveted ‘Most Innovative Wearable’ STA in 2018 was FitBit, which initially made a big splash in the market and since have shown continued financial growth, and strong market share. We look forward to seeing the impact that the 2019 winners – Solos Smart Wearables Technology, have on the industry!

Esports will mimic and need guidance from traditional sports – What was the esports viewer figures for 2018?

Answer: There were an estimated 380 million esports viewers in 2018

The first time we saw this statement was in 2015 but we are finding that esports have actually taught traditional sports a fair amount, especially regarding engaging a younger audience. The battle for young fans will be vital for the continued growth of any sports brand so the ones embracing esports – in an authentic way – are mining a rich, exciting and increasingly relevant target market.

In 2019 sports betting in the USA will be legal – How many states have legalized sports betting so far?

Answer: As of September 2019, there were 12 states that have full-scale legalised sports betting.

In January 2019 The STA Group hosted a Sports Technology Insights panel on the future of sports betting in the US. The event was a deep dive into the realities and opportunities that sports betting in the US market presents.

STA Group CEO, Rebecca Hopkins moderated a panel of experts from Charles Russell Speechlys, NBA and Sportradar who advise that:

  • Sports betting isn’t legal in the US – the federal legislation has changed that means it simply is no longer illegal
  • We need to stop thinking of the US as a single betting market; 50 states will consider and possibly introduce legislation, so in fact, it is more practical to think of each one as an individual territory.
  • We are looking at a ‘blank page’, it is likely the US market will develop slowly and in a very different way from the rest of the world
  • New technology will be part of the new order too; athlete analysis, GPS tracking and geo-tech are all part of today’s fan experience and have implications for how US fans could bet.

Paper ticketing will soon be extinct – What year was this predicted?

Answer: 2018

Completely replacing traditional paper ticketing requires a robust solution with scalability, security and fan experience, being a few hurdles, however, there is a range of sports tech emerging which present effective solutions.

Just one example is sensors; these have been integral to data collection in the past, especially for athletes but their use is set to increase greatly. Applications already in place include in-stadium crowd satisfaction and atmosphere tracking, as well as being embedded in club products – for example, why print a ticket if it can be manufactured into fan merchandise?

 

So how did you do? If you did well why not give yourselves (and us) a social media shout out – tag us in and we’ll like / share / retweet you.

Ensure that you follow The STA Group on LinkedIn or WhatsApp for more insightful content

The STA Group gains a lot of its insights from the hundreds of brands submitting entries into our awards. Currently, The Sports Technology Awards is open for entries and we take pride in responding and adapting to key industry forces, then reflecting these in our categories. Check out what’s in store for 2020 and learn more about each category  here.