The Future of Sports Technology & AI for Athletes and Super Fans

The Future of Sports Technology & AI for Athletes and Super Fans

In today’s media mania era, consumers want what they want, when they want it, 24/7.

And Sports maniacs are no different – which is completely disrupting sports fan culture as we know it.

Now, fans want to see their favorite teams, leagues, players, and newscasters on all of their favorite platforms all – of – the -time. So, with social technology making huge waves in sports, it is equally forcing sports marketers and teams to double – as influencers.

What is Sports Technology?

Sports technology refers to the growing popularity of technology to enhance fan engagement and to reimagine how fans experience and consume sports. The rise of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram has created an insatiable demand for content from sports teams and players, with upwards of 70% of professional teams in the US using social media to engage with their fans.

Organizations are quickly adapting to this shift and are no longer just posting game highlights and scores but also producing high-quality content like behind-the-scenes footage, player interviews, and interactive experiences that keep fans engaged and invested in the team. Fan engagement is also creating new opportunities for athletes to build their personal brands through sponsorships and endorsements, helping players stay relevant and in a position of authority.

According to a recent survey, as many as 80% of sports fans use social media to stay connected with the most up-to-date information about their #1 team. In fact, some of the biggest accounts on social media are sports teams:

  • @RealMadrid has 137 million followers
  • The @NBA has 79.5 million followers.
  • @Cristiano Ronaldo has 580 million followers.

How AI is Changing the Way we See and Play Games

The world of sports has always looked to technology to enhance the matchday experience, and artificial intelligence (AI) is taking it to a whole new level.

Whether you’re an athlete looking for data to give your performance an edge, a coach studying algorithms to fine-tune a game plan, or a referee always seeking to make the right decisions, AI now plays a crucial role in stadiums and locker rooms. It’s also changing the fan experience for those watching live in the stadium or on TV screens at home.

Data, Data, and More Data

Think for a moment about the dynamic nature of sports – how athletes constantly move, jump, run, turn, throw, and kick. Consider also the trajectory that balls and pucks take or the speed of a racket head or golf club as it strikes the ball.

Then there’s cardiovascular data, too. We can measure how much energy the athletes have used in their activity, their heart rate, and how much distance they have covered. These activities offer a rich data source that can be recorded through motion capturing and other sensors.

Sporting events also produce a vast amount of heterogeneous data, ranging from match results and player statistics to high-definition videos and visual tracking information, which can all be used to train AI and machine learning algorithms. The abundance and variety of this data have led to the development of many successful applications in this field, and the popularity of sports means it is a common area where we can all see AI in action.

How Social Media Influencers are Changing the Game

With social media, fans and teams have an opportunity for two-way communication that encourages fans to engage, react and feel more connected to the teams and athletes they love. Sports fans are known for being a little fanatical, and their social media use is well aligned, with 41% of fans using social media platforms to stream live sports.

According to recent statistics, we can clearly see that fans rely heavily on social media platforms and technology to stay connected to their favorite teams and players, with sports fans getting the majority of their sports content online:

  • 51% of Facebook
  • 46% on YouTube
  • 31% on Instagram
  • 25% on Twitter

How to Use Social Media to Connect with Fans

With the rise of social media, sports organizations are under increasing pressure to create and distribute content quickly and efficiently to meet fan demand. From live games to some healthy heckling, fans don’t want to watch – they want to be actively engaged:

1.User-Generated Content: 

Social media is accelerating fan-domania, giving fans an active opportunity to feel a part of the team. Teams and players can leverage social media to help share user-generated content (UGC) and to create a feeling for fans that they are a part of something and have a sense of connection with their favorite teams.

2. Sports News:  

With more teams, players, and games being played daily, sports fans need a way to keep sports news and statistics at their fingertips, accessing news on the go. According to Nielsen, between 2020 and 2021, global usage of TikTok for sports news and content grew 30%. In sports marketing, meeting fans where they are is crucial to keeping them engaged and in the know.

3. Live Streaming: 

According to research, nearly 39% of fans are watching sports through online live streaming on their device. With fans more likely to watch from a mobile app, teams need to capitalize on the quality of their live-streaming, whether that be practices, drills, or games. With younger generations twice as likely to stream, sports teams need to continue to evolve in order to keep them engaged.

4. Personalization:

As sports organizations work to create engaging content, they are also focusing on personalization to better connect with their fans, from email communications to targeted social media campaigns. Sports organizations are also using data analytics to better understand their audiences, providing the opportunity to tailor content to the preferences and interests of individual fans.

5. Statistics:

Sports statistics can be a great way to engage with fans and create shareable social content. Stats and infographics can provide player performance insights, present complex data, and get fans excited about upcoming games. Teams can also use video content to present with highlights, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews.

Sports fans are some of the most committed, loyal, die-hard fans on the planet, and teams can really benefit from keeping those fans engaged and connected to their favorite teams. Creating a sports marketing strategy that aligns sports teams with their fans may be crucial to the future of sports technology.

Need a little help to figure that out?

Call StellaPop Sports … we’ll be waiting.

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