Emerging Trends in Sports Tech
Two additional digital technologies that will impact the sporting industry in 2020 and beyond include virtual assistants/influencers and 5G.
Virtual Assistants and Influencers
- Virtual assistants, bots, and virtual influencers will change sports both in sporting venues and online. For instance, a virtual assistant could replace ticket sellers or venue guides in real time at the sporting venue. A virtual influencer fully designed by the sports team could replace a real influencer online, or could take on the character of the team mascot and advertise the team 24/7 with unique content.
- These technologies are in the phase of early adoption, and will continue to have a transformational impact on the sporting industry in the next few years.
- An early example of this technology is in Alex Hunter, who is a virtual character in EA Sports's Fifa games. In 2018, Hunter, the virtual character, was signed as virtual ambassador for the Coca Cola Zero Sugar brand.
- 5G will have a major impact on the sports industry, however, this technology is still in the very exploratory stages. Eventually, the faster speeds of 5G will improve streaming, and make technologies like virtual reality for the masses possible.
- While many sports operators are planning on testing 5G in their operations in 2020, experts predict that 5G will have major impacts in the next two years.
- One example of an early adaptation of this technology came from 2019, when FC Barcelona announced a partnership with Telefonica to test 5G at the Nou Camp.
Trends were chosen based on their inclusion in multiple experts publications. Trends were determined to be future trends based on the mention by experts that they would impact the sporting industry in the next two to five years.