Last week Qatar SportsTech Accelerator opened up for applications. The accelerator is created by Qatar Development Bank and powered by Startupbootcamp with the aim of making Doha the new spearhead of Sports Innovation. With the 2022 World Cup coming up, this is the perfect opportunity for the city to establish itself as a vibrant startup ecosystem.
Sports have always been tightly connected with innovations. As athletes seek to perfect their performance, new technologies simultaneously push the boundaries of what can be achieved. New technologies, such as Mobile, GPS, AI, and Data collection, push the bar for how sports performance are analysed and optimized.
While wearable technologies enable athletes to perform to their highest degree, technologies are also revolutionizing how fans engage with their idols. Sports teams are reaching out to tech startups at an increasing rate to bring them closer to their fans. According to The Drum, pocket betting, live streaming and live tracking have significantly changed how fans interact with sports.
“I firmly believe we’re in the era today where sports teams are media and technology companies at their core (…) Partnering with startups in accelerator programs or one-off arrangements provides teams with potentially valuable sources of innovation that they may not be able to develop internally,” says Ben Shields, lecturer in managerial communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management
Eight Developing Areas Within SportsTech
Qatar SportsTech is focusing on eight distinct areas that are currently changing the world of sports.
Team Performance and Analytics
According to Harvard Innovation Labs, we are living during the Rise of the quantified athlete. Athletes are increasingly taking the guesswork out of how they train and perform. As mentioned by Brian Reilly, Director of Sports Innovation Lab, measuring devices are only cutting their teeth in elite sports and will spill over into regulated healthcare.
Venue Optimization and Management
Stadiums have developed quite a bit since the Colosseum of ancient Rome. According to a report made by Deloitte, the stadium of today should be seen as a technological and commercial platform rather than just a venue for sports events.
With more sophisticated equipment, easier access, and better lodging possibilities, sports tourism is currently booming forward. It is easier than ever to purchase tickets through your phone and platforms, such as Airbnb, makes accommodation a breeze.
Technology does not only impact the athletes on the field. A myriad of new apps makes it possible for everyone to find gather other people to participate in sports. Whether you are looking for peers to train up with for a marathon or a team for past-time football practice participation is often never more than a few clicks away.
Sports IoT, Wearables and Equipment
Wearables and IoT are becoming a hallmark of sports. Player development, player safety, and fan engagement are all areas radically changed by the emergence of IoT and Wearables.
Fan Experience and Engagement
Fans can engage with sports in a manner never seen before. Tech keeps you updated on stats way after the final whistle has sounded. The advent of the ‘connected stadium’, spearheaded by the NFL, makes it easy for fans to access social media, order food and drinks, and engage with adverts.
The area of Sports Medicals is drastically changing with the emergence of genomics, nutrigenomics, trackers and wearables. We are entering into an era where athletes can personalize their training regiments and diets in correspondence to their genetic requirements. At the same time, health can be monitored through wearables while sensory equipment prevents injuries.
Who would have predicted the rise and popularity of Twitch.tv when they first launched back in 2011? Today E-Sports is a massive market estimated to be worth $1.5 billion by 2020 with the best players competing for prize pools of up to $24 million.
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