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Sports Tech Enhancing Fan Experience In Many Ways


As technology has advanced, companies have found ways to apply that to the sports industry, and many innovations have been created to increase fan experience and athlete development.

Major tech news took a while to get running in 2022, however, in February it started with a bang, where Formula 1 announced a partnership with Kindred Concepts to create a cutting-edge simulation experience.

In March, Catapult launched their all-in-one data analytics platform, which was followed by Super Rugby Pacific introducing ball tracking technology.

Sportradar then launched their match integrity platform in April, before the ATP and WTA launched joint-app, while May saw the AFL and Marvel Stadium launch a new AR experience.

Keeping on the AR trend, the NHL launched a Stanley Cup AR experience in June:

We have the most exciting and unpredictable postseason of all sports, so this is really our opportunity to enhance the excitement and add to the conversation with something fun and interactive. NHL met with Dynamic Vision, a Calgary-based company that develops advanced and interactive 3D visualizations and simulation technologies, to identify a solution that delivers a best-in-class AR experience. It took 12 hours to photograph the Cup, and then it took more than 800 photographs and more than 200 hours to map it. We know that our fans are perhaps the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in all of sport, and this provides them the ability to put their knowledge, skills and curiosity to test by drilling down in the history and the stats – Heidi Browning, NHL CMO

In August, ASTN released their sports tech report, where it said the Australian sports tech sector is worth AUD$3.1 billion in annual revenue and employs over 10,000 people, with the number of local companies growing by 170% from 224 to 605 in 2022.


UFC Fight Pass begin broadcasting events through in VR

UFC Fight Pass partnered with social metaverse company, Meta, to innovate MMA broadcasting.

The parent company of Facebook and Instagram used their platform, Meta Horizon World, and their Meta Quest 2 headset to provide fans with an immersive social experience through virtual reality.

The innovation allowed fans to see and speak with others while receiving ‘unprecedented VR views’ of the action within the octagon.

The first event to be broadcast over Meta Horizon World was the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) event, LFA 144 with VR and tech company YBVR.

LA Rams Launch industry-first virtual venue

NFL franchise, the LA Rams announced the launch of a year-round virtual reality venue named the ‘Virtual Rams House’.

The industry-first platform allows fans to interact with one another through community chats and message boards.

The Rams first end-of-season summit will take place on the platform where executives will be recapping the previous season and discussing offseason plans.

Software company 6connex will power the virtual space.

Commenting on the platform, LA Rams CMO, Kathryn Kai-ling Frederick, said: “This partnership with the Los Angeles Rams pushes boundaries of the fan experience and helps everyone engage with the team in new ways.”

Rams Virtual Stadium

The player-centric development is based on direct feedback from the players and is another great example of how FIFA is using technology to the best of its potential – Johannes Holzmuller, FIFA director, football tech and innovation

FIFA Launch Player App for athletes at 2022 world cup

FIFA announced the release of a player’s data app ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The app will track on-field metrics and give athletes more insights into their performances and data to view shortly after the games.

The data will be synchronised with match footage so athletes can review their key moments using different camera angles.

Additionally, photos will be available through the app for athletes to share on social media.

ICC launch fan experience app

The International Cricket Council (ICC) launched a new fan experience app for the T20 Cricket World Cup.

The features included in this app will use data to create 360-degree visualisations of the tournament’s biggest sixes, as well as a live tracker for fans to view field positions in real-time, and AI-generated match highlights.

Additionally, the app allowed fans in attendance to vote over what music was played at the stadiums and participate in interactive light shows at selected events.

Commenting on the innovations, ICC head of digital, Finn Bradshaw, said: “The ICC is dedicated to using technology to elevate the cricket fan’s experience, whether they are in a stadium in Perth or on a bus in Pune.”

ICC T20 World Cup Australia Cricket

Re-Imagined NBA Global App Launched 

In September, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced the launch of their re-imagined app, NBA Global.

The new app is designed to provide fans of all 30 NBA franchises with an all-in-one experience.

Features included are wall-to-wall content from every game, social-style vertical video, behind-the-scenes access to athletes and teams, new and existing shows, and access to the NBA vault for free.

Commenting on the app’s launch, NBA EVP direct-to-consumer, Chris Benyarko, said: “We are thrilled to deliver a reimagined product that will enhance and personalise the way NBA fans engage with the league on a daily basis.”

NBA ID, a new global membership program, was also launched to offer benefits and rewards from the league, teams, and partners.

To round out 2022…

In October, FIFA released the FIFA Player App, which allows athletes to review their own match data, before Sportradar announced the launch of the fielding app, which tracked athlete fielding data during the T20 World Cup.

Then in November, Sportradar was in the news again, this time launching a virtual stadium in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup.

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