A new report from Drake Star Partners explores how sports technology will shape the future of investment and content across the industry.
Drake Star Partners recently released a new report into the rise of the global sports technology market. Including the thoughts of Grabyo CEO Gareth Capon, the report paints an accurate picture of a rapidly growing industry – both in size and importance.
The report estimates the global sports technology sector to have reached $11bn worth in 2019, equal to 6.4% of the global sports market ($172bn). It also forecasts the sector will grow at 23.1% CAGR (reaching $31.1bn) by 2024.
The key driver of this growth? Fan engagement.
The age of fan-centricity
Audiences have more power today than ever before. Video consumption habits have shifted toward mobile and online streaming, resulting in a rapid decrease of linear TV subscriptions and a rise in OTT services. Consumers want to pick up any device and access any content, pick up where they left off, and be able to watch in an optimized format.
Across the entertainment industry, broadcasters and publishers are changing their content strategies to align with these new expectations. The OTT delivery models of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are becoming the new normal.
The sports industry has been slow to react to these changes. Historically live sporting rights have been almost exclusively owned by major TV operators, whose audiences are decreasing.
Meanwhile, companies like DAZN are making sport more accessible than ever. DAZN is an OTT streaming service that offers a content proposition that spans many of the world’s premier sporting rights, which is accessed for a low monthly subscription and available across all devices. In 2019, DAZN reported 950% year-on-year growth.
The future of TV is the internet. Sports broadcasters and publishers must embrace technology to create new models of delivery over the internet, and reach fans on the platforms and devices they want.
The role of social media
Social media has redefined the way athletes, clubs and federations have engaged fans.
It is a medium for two way communication between leading sports stars and fans, and enables athletes to create their own storylines and fan communities which extend beyond their league or team. Sports fans used to be defined by their relationship with a team, today their relationship with favourite athletes may be more important.
When it comes to content, the biggest shift in the past five years is the demand for sports away from live events. Fans want to watch supplementary content, such as locker room clips, training videos, user-generated sports content or messages from the athletes on social media, sometimes more often than the on-field action. This contextual content tends to generate more views and engagement.
The next step in this evolution is interactive live content. The daily broadcast by English FA for the Lion’s Den during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, powered by Grabyo, is a great example of this.
Live interactive shows encourage participation, such as voting on polls, joining in a live broadcast or commenting on a social post. This may be supplemented by additional data and content options (such as additional viewing angles or alternative commentary). This turns an audience from passive to active, and drives longer viewing times. Fans get more out of it, as does the publisher. OTT offers a direct, real-time feedback mechanism for sports broadcasting, you can see what works immediately.
Sports technology and growth
Developments in production technology will have the biggest influence in helping smaller sports to grow their fanbase. The volume of available sports content will increase exponentially and with that, the demand for flexible, innovative production will follow – offering niche sports the option to produce broadcast-quality events at a fraction of the cost of traditional TV services.
Cloud-based tools such as Grabyo allow digital teams to maximize their resources and require minimal training, these also scale on demand, meaning broadcasters only pay for what they use.
Today, with only a laptop and internet connection you can produce high quality live sports video and distribute it rapidly, all around the globe across multiple platforms and devices.
Reaching fans on social media, OTT and digital platforms in real-time enables smaller sports to tap-in to social and viral trends, appeal to younger fans, grow awareness and create new monetization options for sport.
You can download Drake Star Partner’s new report here.