Written by Peter Jackson Eastwood • Published 9th June 2020 • 3 minute read

The pandemic has thrown every aspect of global sport into sharp focus, from the business models of clubs and franchises across the world, to how player trading and performance could evolve.

These are the businesses leading the way towards innovation and positive change as sport gears up for its return.

Sport Finance:

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses inherent in the business models of football clubs, who are so reliant on matches being staged, and attended by fans.

Tifosy Capital & Advisory is a global sports advisory and capital solutions firm, and a leading player in the sports advisory and financing space. CEO Fausto Zanetton is one of the foremost voices on football finance, with years of experience in investment banking and a Europe-wide network of sporting and financial contacts. Tifosy work with clubs and leagues, providing strategic counsel, and enabling access to investment from institutional and other investors through their network and proprietary investment platform. With football under more financial pressure than ever, Tifosy will play a crucial role in financing the sports industry going forward.

Fan experience:

What is football, without the fans? Thanks to augmented reality business Oz Sports, we might never have to find out. The technology company have been in talks with broadcasters, as their technology allows fans to record chants for their team and have them broadcast from inside the stadium. It could well be the answer to the crowd noise conundrum that is facing sport’s organisers.

Player performance:

The behind-closed-doors schedule is packed, and will present challenges to clubs and players alike, who need to get up to speed quickly and then stay fit.

Tactalyse is working to give players a competitive edge through its cutting edge tactical analysis. CEO Loran Vrielink hit the headlines when Newcastle’s Jetro Willems dedicated a goal to him by forming the Tactalyse logo in his goal celebration, while another of his clients, a Netherlands international, reportedly refuses to put Vrielink in touch with other players lest they see the same improvement in their game that he has. With football back, Vrielink’s services will be more important than ever.

Football won’t be the only sport facing problems, with the physicality of sports including Rugby Union and NFL presenting their own fitness challenges. Kitman Labs have their own solution, employing data to analyse player performance and risk of injury to an unparalleled level of refinement. Sport consistently gets faster and more physical, and businesses like Kitman Labs will be increasingly important in keeping players fit and healthy.

Scouting & transfers:

Transfer fees have been on a trajectory of exponential growth for years, until now. Even the top clubs are having to swallow huge losses, so how can they get smarter as they look to refresh their squads without buying their way out of trouble?

Driblab is one of several exciting new players in the sports consulting space. Through cutting edge analysis of data, CEO Salvador Carmona and his team provide consultation to clubs across Europe on more than 130,000 players spread across 110 professional competitions, helping clubs ensure they are spending their money wisely on players who are statistically proven to have an impact. They’re already the top dogs in the Spanish market, and beginning to gain a stronger foothold across Europe.

They’re joined in the market by Dutch startup SciSports. Providing analysis to coaching and scouting departments alike, SciSports have a wealth of technology expertise in their team, and can point to case studies with the Belgium national team’s golden generation, as well as Leeds United in the UK, as evidence of their prominence in the data and analysis field.

Player Network Platforms:

Football is also entering a period of unprecedented uncertainty for players all over the world, with thousands set to be out of contract and uncertainty reigning over what the future holds.

Tonsser is another data-powered platform, but one aimed specifically at enabling young players to track their stats and performance so they can showcase their potential to agents and scouts across Europe. With travel restrictions likely to dog Europe in the coming months and data taking a more important role in scouting, Tonsser could be a lifeline for youngsters who might otherwise fall onto football’s scrap heap.

PlayerHunter is a competitor in that space, and pitches itself as a revolutionary career platform that saves clubs and players energy, time and money through it’s use of a smart matching algorithm. It’s yet to be rolled out worldwide, but is another to watch.

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