From clearing up controversial moments to improving fan engagement, technology is starting to dominate sports.
RBS 6 nations
Before the Super Bowl gets underway you can sit back and enjoy the start of the RBS 6 Nations, first with Scotland v Ireland at 14:25 on Saturday, followed by England v France at 16:50 and Italy v Wales at 14:00 on Sunday.
The competition is now in its sixth year of sponsorship with Accenture as its tech partner and the consultancy firm has upped the ante with its data analytics dashboard with the addition of machine learning.
Last year the dashboard, which provides player, match and Championship insights, was accessed by around 20,000 people, and now the company has added a mixed reality application.
With a mix of technology from Alteryx, Qlik and Tableau, and expert insights from former Italy coach Nick Mallet, England World Cup winner Ben Kay and Irish rugby legend Gordon D’Arcy, there will be plenty for fans to get their teeth into.
In addition to the analytics piece, Accenture has created a mixed reality experience. The company has blended physical and digital world, with the help of a green screen studio, and made it possible for the virtual reality experience to be broadcast.
The VR user is able to interact with players on a virtual pitch in addition to seeing all the team and player analytics from the dashboard in the virtual world.
If that’s not enough to fill the time between matches then there’s the official app that’s powered by Accenture.
Technology entering the realms of football has been a slow process. The Premier League has goal-line technology but that’s far from being widely deployed across the leagues in the UK, let alone the world.
The big blocker to tech in football is the fear that it will slow down matches. So while in the NFL you can have a match that lasts for hours, a football match is fast paced and anything that slows it down is seen as being detrimental.
So, the majority of tech innovations coming in football has come on the side of fan engagement and internal systems.
Take Southampton Football Club for example, which recently partnered with Advanced, and implemented a ticketing ecommerce solutions called TALENT Sport. The idea behind it is to improve fan experience when purchasing online, and hopefully increase the volume of online ticket sales.
The football club will use fan data held within the solution in order to better engage with fans online and target them more accurately with promotions that are based on their interests.
The software operates in a private cloud and the club will also offers, thanks to the Advanced buy-back system, which allows season ticket holders who cannot make a match to release their ticket back to the club.
Then you have Manchester City FC, which has been leading the way with regards to fan engagement augmented by technology partnerships, and has recently brought the match day experience to virtual reality and 360 video.
The club, in collaboration with Jaunt, is now providing a 360 degree VR fan experience that is aimed at helping fans to get closer to the match day action at the Etihad Stadium. The video captures different moments of the match and then displays them in cinematic virtual reality.
Fans will be able to gain access to the players’ changing room and watch as the players line up to emerge onto the pitch.
Available on the Jaunt VR platform and created by using the Jaunt ONE camera and VR technology, it is designed to give the fan an authentic behind-the-scenes look at the match day atmosphere in the stadium.