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Research Report - Emerging Technologies in Sports Reimagining the Fan Experience, 2020 (Synopsis)

Technology has now become an integral part of how fans consume sports. Research suggests that a good experience in technology be it in or out of the stadium; impacts overall fan engagement positively. Fans who enjoyed tech-enabled experience said that they would go to more matches at their team's stadium and would also increase their spending on merchandise, food, and beverages as well as on online subscriptions for matches.

Four focus areas for organizations in order to adapt and optimize emerging technologies are as follows:

  • Reassuring fans on how their personal data is used and build trust

  • Understanding the needs and expectations of fans before implementing new technologies

  • Working on converting casual fans into avid fans as avid fans offer more opportunities due to their higher engagement

  • Building digital capabilities and transforming organizational culture by investing to develop emerging skills and knowledge sharing across organizations to drive innovation


Technology is now an integral part of how fans consume sports

According to the survey conducted by Capgemini Research Institute, on average, 69% of fans report that the use of emerging technologies has enhanced their viewing experience both inside and outside the stadium.

In-stadium technologies: Getting regular updates on mobile apps while watching the match live, accessing Wi-Fi to share updates on social media and ordering food and beverages online and for delivery to the seat are the key in-stadia components that fans are using.

Outside stadium experience: Streaming matches live on VR headsets to simulate the in-stadium experience, ability to choose different camera angles to watch the match, match prediction game where fans compete with an AI bot were the top 3 outside the stadium experiences for fans.

74% share of Asian fans have experienced the use of emerging technology in-stadium pointing to the greater adoption rate among Asians with India at 88% is the highest, while the US with 55% and Germany with 50% are lagging behind. Research also suggests that younger fans are passionate consumers of sports and ultimately it is the younger generation that leads the older generation into adopting new technologies.


Benefits on offer for multiple stakeholders if emerging technologies are deployed successfully

Research shows that there is a 25 point NPS difference between fans who have experienced emerging technologies and those who have not, indicating a more satisfying experience for fans. 92% of fans said they have increased their spending on online subscriptions for watching matches (either often or few times). Also, technology is transforming athlete performance through tracking performance in real-time to tackling injuries by using data analytics. Injuries in professional sports can cost billions but with the use of big data, there are chances of avoiding it. This has started a boom in start-ups launching smart wearables to capture multiple data points and offering insights on various parameters.


Strategies that organizations can use to deploy technology that inspires fans and build engagement

Data collection is a key concern among the fans; 65% of fans are uncomfortable with the collection and storage of personal data. It is imperative for organizations to reassure fans on the use of personal data and finding the right balance between gathering information and using technologies to gain insights. Seeking consumer consent and being transparent are some of the ways in which organizations can build consumer trust.

One notable downside of using digital technologies that has come through the research is that ~50% of fans are of the view that it distracts them from the actual game. So, it is imperative that there is a right balance between the adoption of these technologies and the live experience.

5G offers a significant opportunity to transform the in-stadium experience. It will offer enhanced mobile broadband speed and enhanced capacity as well as the ability to support a large number of devices. It will be more open to third parties via API’s on the back of its new architecture.



Key takeaways for organizations to excel in the technology game will be a laser-like focus on the user experience and a strategy that attracts the most attractive and avid fans. They should focus on building a culture that embraces disruption and innovation and building the capabilities of their people.


This synopsis has been put together by Amey Sankhe.

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