When Sport Becomes Science

Many of us still associate sport data with either Moneyball or amateur poolers. However, data and analytics are now getting the spotlight of the traditionally emotional sports arena. Here is what’s trending in 2016.

Measuring everything

Numbers have always been at the core of sports fans excitement and obsessions. After all, “it only takes one goal to win” and you always try to find comfort in beating your opponents at least on some level, be it shots, possession time or the like. In an area so closely related to gambling, every percentage point counts. And with the rise of wearables, this is now true for amateurs as well.

With connected technologies like miCoach, athletes can now get a hold of even their smallest achievements instead of being confined to tracking solely major milestones. As such, they become obsessed with their own data, trying to collect points however they can.

This obsession for data opens many opportunities to collect information in order to gamify how the masses play, also increasing their training frequency. It also provide brands with key information not only on how products are purchased but about how they are actually used. Such insight is key for product development and innovation, especially as most wearables come with apps allowing reasonable upsell as the user tops his previous performance.

Pooling with the best

As data becomes accessible to everyone, we are now able to compare to our idols on everything. I may therefore now score as many goals as Messi, but can I top him on speed? Run as many daily miles as he does? Can I jump higher than James Harden? Or maybe skate faster than Alex Ovechkin? Everyone can now become the best on some point, or challenge the people they look up to, therefore benefiting from a greater dose of encouragement to reach their goals.

Gamifying Life

Knowing this, brands can develop many engaging ways to connect amateurs to their idols. With virtual reality, you can easily play against the best, train with them or get advice from top performers. As you grow better, you can even yourself rank amongst the top either on progress, performance or engagement. Gamifying sports and workouts, brands can easily identify their top performers and help them leverage their game and feed the community.

With wearables, gamification has become even more powerful. Athletes can now track their achievements in passive move. They can just wear the device, forget it and focus on performance while the data gets collected. No more need to create specific performance tracking situations, you can now understand, and collect points, rewards or achievements while you engage in playing the game you love.

The rise of the eAthlete

As everyone can become and athlete, and let the world know about their performance, the very notion of an athlete is changing. The eSports trend is the obvious challenger, as championships attract more viewers than many traditional sports, and that big brands are starting to jump on board.

But if sponsorships were the obvious first move to make, as adidas did back in Copenhagen, brands are facing a huge opportunity. As eSports are a relatively new trend, major players which have had years to understand the nuts and bolts of sport competitions can now take the lead and diversify. Or test new models before exporting them to more traditional areas.

This is what Amazon did purchasing the eSports streaming service Twitch.tv. But for brands like adidas, or the crossfit and individual performance brands like Reebok, it can be more about the gear, mentorship and training they provide to the amateur. It can also be about the experience provided as the amateur enters the stadiums, connecting with their environments, simulating how they’d perform in the game they are watching and getting recommendations of the gear available to help them perform.

Opportunities are limitless, and brands must make the most of the new sports currently appearing to continue innovating and position themselves as leaders in the new fields.

How can brands be on the starting lineup?

Sports are currently embracing technology. From connected stadiums to wearables, fans have never had so many opportunities to connect with their idols and challenge them. Therefore, brands can position themselves as the connection between both. By letting fans and pros compete together in a friendly way, you can gather data on both of them, create amazing brand notoriety and develop new and innovative products. And yes, this is only the beginning.