Top 5 Sports Technology Trends of 2018

This past year has seen many developments in the sports industry. As fans demand more immersive and personalized content teams have worked hard to digitize. The arrival of esports to the mainstream their digital savviness has driven further innovations within the traditional sports industry.  STG has ranked the top five trends in sports and technology that have developed in 2018 and will continue to grow and be refined in 2019.

  1. Media Distribution and OTT Streaming

  • 63% of sports fans say they would pay for an all in one streaming service

  • Over 65% of the youngest fans watch sports-related content from a mobile device

  • Millennials watch supplemental sports content, that is important to them

In 2018 OTT Streaming for live sports games has continued as sports leagues try to find new ways to showcase their sport with online streaming rights. Two major players emerged in 2018:

  • ESPN+ → new streaming service for sports. With ESPN game inventory, live games, and more behind the scenes content for all types of sports fans.

  • DAZN → International streaming service in over 9 countries with multiple live sports contracts from the FIFA World Cup in 3 countries, to the NFL in 5.

Amazon Prime and Facebook Watch are also looking at getting into the live sports game. Amazon owns Twitch, the primary streaming platform for esports and now the NBA G League. It won’t be surprising to see Amazon make moves in 2019 as streaming rights continue to become a bigger player.

2. Athlete Data Collection

Monetization of data is a topical discussion in many industries and sports are no different. This data continues to pour in as teams and leagues collect exorbitant amounts of biometric and performance data from their athletes, sports betting and fantasy entities are clamouring for access. Data collection is not slowing down. Even IBM has entered the game. Some companies to keep an eye on:

catapult.jpg
  • Wearables

    • Kinexon with NBA Teams

    • Catapult

  • Movement Data Capture

    • Statcast - MLB

    • Second Spectrum - NBA

    • Visual tracking data and wearables to understand the game, using the data to dissect their strengths and weaknesses

  • IBM Data Insights

Look for the development of governance around this data in 2019 as controversies over ownership and viewership continue, and new monetization opportunities arise.

3. Virtual Reality (VR)

There are so many opportunities for Virtual Reality. 2018 has seen massive advancements in both fan experience and athlete training:

Sports Tech experts are excited to see where Virtual Reality will go in 2019 (see podcast with Simon Ogus). From enjoying courtside seats from your living room, to maximizing touches for 2nd string quarterbacks, VR opportunities continue to grow as the technology develops.

4. Immersive Fan Experiences

Getting fans to attend live sports remains a top priority for teams. To keep the live experience unique and exciting for fans sports teams are looking at ways to improve the fan experience. From ordering food to your seat to games with rewards, every live event has more to offer than just the sports game itself.

  • Augmented Reality - Call the Shot - AR Game Sacramento Kings

    • Waze integration with Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment (https://mobilesyrup.com/2018/04/03/raptors-leafs-apps-update/)

  • Smart Stadiums

    • 3D on court/ice projection - Atlanta Hawks and Monumental Sports (Washington)

    • Stadium Mapping to show the closest features like food, drinks and bathrooms, and how busy they are

Sports teams will continue to develop exciting experiences for fans while they are in the stadium, and capitalize on monetization opportunities.

NBA & MGM Resorts from  New York Post

NBA & MGM Resorts from New York Post

5. Sports Betting

When the US Supreme Court legalized sports betting in most states this past year, sports entities and casinos scrambled to develop new ways to monetize this previously untouchable market.

  • NBA signed a multi-year deal with MGM

  • More partnerships emerge between cutting edge sports betting companies - FansUnite, Draft Kings

With 32 states likely legalizing sports betting in the next 5 years, 2019 will see further advancements in both digital betting all over the world.


STG will continue to comment on the state of Sports and Esports technology in 2019. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay up to date!