Plus Ça Change
When we set up Performance, it was easy to decide our areas of specialism – Sport and Automotive – because they stirred our soul. Work was to be fun, and what better way to guarantee that than eliminate the chaff from the start.
Some 17 years later we have this week added a third specialism, Technology. It is inextricably linked to the future of our two foundation pillars and the evolution of how we indulge these passions.
Technology Has Changed the Game
Since our inception in 2002, Technology has played a huge part in driving the evolution of the sporting world.
Sophisticated gathering and deployment of data, artificial intelligence and the IOT are increasingly turning sports into number games and athletes into world beaters. It is data analytics that ultimately decides who wins F1 races, the management of power data that steers the pro peloton, and sadly, when England will get knocked out of the World Cup (read here about Croatia’s data-driven approach to the beautiful game).
Connected stadia, virtual reality, personalised services and social media are helping fans get closer to the action than ever before. Intel’s promise, just last week, to give fans every angle of critical match moments in a new dimension, placing them and broadcasters quite literally “in the game”, is a prime example (link here).
Entirely new, game-changing categories, like cybathletics, drone racing and E-sports are being defined in front of our eyes; the latter offering tournament prizes rivalling the biggest traditional sports events and attracting over 100 million viewers from across the globe (some eye opening stats here).
…But Some Things Never Change
How we participate in sport, consume it and behave as fans may all be unrecognisable from seventeen years ago, but the reasons we love sport remain steadfastly the same.
We tune in for the excitement, the competition, the unpredictability, and to learn from the best. Sport simultaneously offers an escape from the everyday as well as a sense of belonging and companionship amongst likeminded fans and supporters.
When considering technology in sport, it is essential that the basic motivations of fandom are kept firmly in mind, because they are ultimately what determine the level of adoption of any new technology (remember 3D?).They are also our north star.
Our mission from day one, to work in the areas that excite us means we understand better than anyone what it is that drives fandom, excites audiences and engages communities – borne out by our recent study to explore the science behind what really drives the Future of the Sports Fan.
Having a dedicated technology team leaves us better placed than ever to help sports innovators and digital disruptors navigate the choppy waters of fan opinion and stakeholder relations.
The world of sport is undoubtedly set for continued technological change. But as everything changes, the immutable motivations behind sports fans, not least ours, will continue to determine how this change takes shape.