BIMA The Future of Sport – what we found out..

By Anna Doyle
28 Sep 2018

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The latest in our Future of series took place in Glasgow on 26 September and brought together Emily Puddephatt of Stripe, Paul Diamond of amazerealise, Luke McCarthy of Pim-Pam and Stefan Raue of Global Rugby Network to predict the future of sport, looking through four very different lenses.

Hot off the heels of Glasgow 2018 Emily drew upon her experiences of how to build a fan experience before an event has even started. How do you create the next “come to” event? Emily observed that you have different types of fans from the fanatic to the local supporter and within each fan base they will respond differently to content based on the sport they are interested in. To create a new fan base traditional story telling techniques led to the most impactful results.

Of course, with more platforms to use to share your stories this should extend your reach but also comes with challenges too, and although engagement is highest through mobile, people are still much more likely to spend money via their laptops.

Emily’s three-pronged approach to delivering the crowds of future events:

– segment audiences and customise content

– create fan pipelines

– keep ahead of the pace of change in social impacting our marketing strategies

And her predictions: VR has the potential to change the home viewer experience but we have a way to go. Meanwhile AR through mobile is already transforming the stadium experience for fans – expect rapid growth.

So Emily has gathered a mass of fans with cutting edge social techniques – over to Paul to keep them engaged…

Paul opened with the statement that there is currently a high level of disruption in sport, with some sports experiencing a decline in its fan base due to an aging community. Shifts in viewing behaviour, consumption, the changing media rights landscape and the emergence of new technology all have an impact. High competition stakes in the “attention economy” all lead to a need to focus on fan engagement. To do this you need to get into the psychology of the sports fan. Sports has a unique ability to create human connections (where else might you hug a complete stranger?), it is the ultimate serial drama.

So, how do we amplify these experiences? A few strategies for getting the fans closer to the action:

– The growth of VR and AR technologies

– Carefully curated and customised content on demand

– Provide fans access to all areas , eg: NFL trueview

– Use players and athletes as brand ambassadors

All of this needs to happen by embracing fast moving technology – which is only going to get faster.

In summary: define success; make experiences engaging and shareable; listen to and reward your fans; make effective use of the technology and data available (and coming).

As founder of Pim-Pam, Luke has been doing a lot of work to improve sports facilities in Scotland working with national centres such as Oriam, Inverclyde and The National Curling Academy with sportscotland. Luke set out his overriding vision for what the future of sport facilities should encapsulate:

– Variety

– Opportunity

– Inclusiveness

Oriam is a brilliant example of where tech and design come together to create a great environment for sporting achievement, training and recovery — helping to deliver improved performance results. Luke spoke passionately about sportscotland and the Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre which is Scotland’s first all inclusive residential facility, providing tailored solutions to help all athletes operate at the top of their game. Technology is about creating opportunities and improving existing ones. It is not just about tracking speed, statistics and video analysis…for some, the simplest things are what make the biggest difference. 

This was a perfect segue into our final presentation of the evening from Stefan of Global Rugby Network – experts in analytics. Like Luke Stefan is keen to promote inclusivity across sport promoting elite athlete performance management for everyone. It has never been easier to generate data from audience generated content to wearables to advanced camera systems and Stefan reeled off a long list of sources. Better data leads to better insights but data is siloed and the challenge is undoing that and also understanding what is of value, what do you need?

AI will bridge the gap to enable elite technology to be available at amateur level so they can train like pros and get the benefits for health and performance. Similarly. As AI improves it will lead to elite teams achieving deeper insights into their data and run performance management as a team sport.

A lively Q&A followed and we were left with two cautionary notes:

With all this data capture and video content we need to manage the challenge of protecting our privacy, and a quote from Paul’s presentation: “the future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed” William Gibson.

A big thank you to our panel of experts and to Kirsty Hepburn of Sporting Chance Initiative who expertly moderated the session.

This event was held at Spaces Charing Cross  a collaborative working space in Glasgow.


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