Technology in sport: Trends for 2022

It’s sport, but not as we used to know it. Technology has arguably never been as influential across the sporting world as it is now.

From the implementation of referral systems including VAR and DRS, to the development of goal line technology, to the increasing scrutiny with which data is being applied by everybody from analysts to social media commentators, this is a golden age of technology in sport.

For businesses working to innovate in their respective sports, competition for attention has never been fiercer, but conversely the ground has never been more fertile to make an impact.

The media’s handling of technology in sport has been revolutionised in recent years. Broadcasters are at the forefront of this, using increasingly sophisticated metrics like expected goals and expected passes to give fans a deeper understanding of the game.

Underpinning this evolution is the increased proclivity of sports data and the growing prominence being given to those individuals for whom this is their specialism. Across a range of sports the environment has shifted dramatically and presented opportunities for an equally broad range of businesses. From fan engagement platforms through to those focusing on wearable technology, the increased demand for data from both consumers and the media alike is only a good thing.

The global pandemic accelerated these trends. Sports finance has evolved, and we’ve seen the success recently of alternative financing methods, such as QPR raising £6.8m in ten days through a QPR bond, which more than 1,500 people invested into.

Sports data now affects every aspect of sport, from on-field performance through to player trading as well as broadcasting via the media. Journalists are having to learn quickly to keep up, while many major outlets are now employing data experts to make sense of the rapid change.

Companies who are forward thinking and proactive in getting their stories out there stand to gain a lot as we move into 2022. There has never been more appetite to present their expertise and tell their stories to the media.

National and international outlets are hungry for content that shows where the sporting curve is headed, but with that appetite comes increasing competition. Building a media network is essential to making a success of this opportunity. Journalists are flooded with potential stories every day, and unless you understand what they want and how they want it delivered, you risk being lost among the white noise.

There are several areas of sport technology to look out for in 2022:

  • Wearable technology:
  • Wearable devices will become more prominent. We’ve already seen how these are being used to track physical performance and potential injury, the next step of this evolution will be to provide more actionable insight at a grassroots level, and to track technical performance.
  • Sports data:
  • Data will continue to be king. Particularly in football, it is now a near essential part of the recruitment process at an elite level. More clubs will follow Brentford’s lead in looking for marginal gains in lower leagues, and multiple businesses are stepping up to fill that space.
  • Sports finance:
  • Sport finance is also ripe for change. Traditional banks have moved away, and investment platforms could play a role in the change to come. Crypto in sport is also on the rise, and with the media taking a great interest in that marriage of worlds, expect a surge in coverage across 2022.

There have never been more people reading about technology in sport, there have never been more journalists searching for stories, and there has never been more opportunity for firms operating in the sector. The challenge now is for businesses to find a way to capitalise on that change and put themselves at the centre of that revolution.

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