Technology has been developing rapidly especially since early 2000s. With the advance of technology, people’s lives are now changing faster than ever in human history. In company with this change, the needs, expectations and desires of people are also changing. People used to dream until three to four decades ago, too. But we needed to wait for the development of technology to realize those dreams. Now, we are experiencing the days when technology has caught our dreams.
Such a development in technology, of course, is affecting and changing the sport. Especially in recent years, sports technologies have been offering very useful solutions. Innovative products and services in this area have led to dramatic changes in many areas from human health to athlete performance, and from improved fan experience to the e-sports world.
In this step you will find some information that will give you a general understanding about SportsTech. First of all, we will take a look at the connection between sports and technology. Then we will address the SportsTech concept, which has become popular just as FinTech, HealtTech, AgriTech or SpaceTech. We will talk about SportsTech market and try to get to know the ecosystem. Finally, we will talk about new technologies and trends in the sport and try to expand your horizons.
Let’s take a look at the concepts of ”sports and technology”.
Physical activity and sport are as old as human history. The records and documents show us that people were training for hunting and preparing for battle 3,000 years ago. People at that time were using sports equipment such as arrows, swords and spears. Formal sports competitions began in 776 B.C. in Ancient Greece with the first Olympic Games, which included sports like human and car racing, wrestling, jumping, discus throw and javelin throw. In fact, we can say that the connection of technology and design to sports began at those times.
We can look at our recent past to better understand the connection between the concept of technology and sport that we talk about today. The first Modern Olympics took place in 1896 in Athens. 241 athletes from 14 countries participated in the Olympic Games in Athens and 43 competitions were held in 9 different sports like athletics, wrestling, weightlifting, gymnastics, cycling, shooting, tennis, fencing and swimming. When we look at popular sports such as football, basketball and volleyball, we see that their emergence was in the late 19th century. Now let’s try to explain how technology has changed sports with some examples from history.
In the United States, before the shot clock was used, the scores in basketball games were very low. Therefore, the fans did not enjoy the games most of the time. After the final match ended 19-18 in 1951, the NBA officials thought they needed to make changes. In 1954, the 24-second shot clock was launched. Consequently, the average score of the matches increased and the matches became more enjoyable.
Wearable technologies allow real-time monitoring of athlete health. With the Minnesota Vikings player Korey Stringer’s death of heat stroke during a training session in 2001, technology developers began to seek ways to monitor the factors that affect athletes’ health in real time. With the use of wearable technologies in sports, cases such as dehydration and heart attack have been significantly reduced. Thanks to this technology, critical data such as pulse rate, hydration and body temperature can be monitored and a difference can be made in the lives of many athletes.
Various technologies such as video technologies, fan experience technologies, data monitoring and analysis, wearables and technological prosthesis devices for disabled athletes have changed the sport and continue to change it.
Although the concept of sports technology has existed for many years, the concept of SportsTech has recently begun to be used. In the simplest terms, we can say that it is the intersection of sport, science and technology. If technology is used to provide a solution in the field of sport, it is addressed under SportsTech.
The overall sports technology market is estimated to be worth USD 8.9 billion in 2018 and USD 31.1 billion by 2024. Major growth drivers include significant improvement in fan engagement, growing demand for data-driven decisions and operations, and increasing sports events, online and offline.
According to European SportsTech Report 2018 published by SportsTechX, Europe has more than 1,000 SportsTech companies and the invested capital reached a new all-time high with about €135 M in 2017, after a steady growth and more than tripling compared to 2013.
According to European SportsTech Report 2019, The total amount invested in the SportsTech was over €360 M. There were 48 deals of €1 M or more, showing that investors are not afraid of investing.
You can find the reports here: https://sportstechx.com/reports/
The European SportsTech ecosystem continues to expand with startups, investors, accelerators and incubation programs and other initiatives and events. Here are some of the stakeholders in the SportsTech ecosystem:
We can share with you some definitions about sports technology ecosystem from a US and from a European perspective. The definitions are based on extensive research of recent sports tech investments by venture capitalists and sport tech startups in the US and Europe.
In 2016, Sparsh Agrawal and Varun Sanon researched for Sport Tech investments in a project at Harvard Business School, defining the sports technology ecosystem. They described and categorised the SportsTech ecosystem in detail along with market sizes, trends, investing challenges and a list of 400 companies.
The full report is available here: https://goo.gl/HcKpgo
Another description of the sports tech ecosystem came from Benjamin Penkert, who is the co-founder of SportsTechX. He screened over 850 Sportstech startups in Europe and clustered them into four main categories – Activity & Performance, Management & Organisation, Media & Fans and Games & Bets.
In November 2020, SportsTechX updated this framework and made changes to how the sector would be categorized, trying to provide a common understanding and structure for the entire ecosystem.
Right here, we need to mention Hello SportsTech, an initiative of SportsTechX.
Hello SportsTech is launched with the mission to highlight innovative solutions for tech-savvy consumers who want to improve their sports and fitness experiences. This is the place to go to deal with apps and devices in sports that one likes to do and watch. Products are presented in short and easy to use video format. With every review, viewers can get information about the company behind the solution and its core mission.
Visit Hello SportsTech website:
Finally, we would like to talk about current sports technology trends.
The first of these trends is data analytics. All professional clubs now have a data analysis department or employ someone related to it. Big teams use data sets for player transfers or the implementation of game plans. Teams try to avoid player injuries using data analysis tools such as Kitman Labs. Using smart data, the clubs can also set dynamic prices for ticket sales and maximize their profits.
Another trend is the virtual reality technology. The VR market is still in its infancy and needs to address significant technical challenges. According to a report by Piper Jaffray, the VR market in sports is estimated to grow to $4 billion by 2025. Value drivers in VR could range from live broadcasts and deep fan engagement to gaming, coaching and training. Click on the link to read the article ‘5 Sports That Are Benefiting from Virtual Reality’:
The internet of things is one of the important trends that affect the sports field. The adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the sports industry plays an important role in improving players, player and fan safety, and fan participation. IoT provides a platform for fans, coaches, physiotherapists and players to analyze the data collected from various devices. Users can share the game strategy and players’ injury status. The platform provides enhanced customer experience. Furthermore, the integration of Artificial Intelligence featured solutions into the sports industry accelerates the sports technology market by bringing automation and data analysis for business decisions, ticket sales, sponsorship activations, athlete training and performance evaluation.
In this step, we have made a brief introduction to SportsTech.
Continue Step-2: Know Yourself