Learnings from the Sports Technology Symposium 2016 at FC Barcelona – part 2

The second edition of the Sports Technology Symposium at FC Barcelona brought together almost 500 people from across the globe. A blog about the first day of the symposium has been published earlier here. The second day focused on media, fans and entertainment.

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In the Mobile First session, Jerry Newman from Facebook gave a very comprehensive overview of how Facebook is providing features that are widely used to create content, engage fans and create business opportunities. Rayde Baez continued from a European basketball point-of-view, working for EuroLeague. Key for both is mobile applications, since their use (since October this year) has become even larger than any other platform on the net.

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Matt Moreno from the Chicago Bulls and Hector Arguelles from the NBA continued this session focusing on what fans want: fast, on-the-go content that is authentic and gives an added value over classic media as TV. This could be: streaming services for fans (live and/or rapid replays from specific camera angles), game day pages, polls, social media content, customized alerts, etc.

Then, another very hot topic in the field was on the agenda: Smart Stadia. Four good practice examples were presented, each with relevant learnings.

1/ Mark van Leest, Head of Media at AFC Ajax explained how they dealt with the diffusive nature of ever increasing digital platforms. Mark presented the recently launched new website and club app, made with a mindset of ‘from sending, to experiencing’. In his presentation, he explained the successful implementation of their media strategy and how they endeavored to overcome the challenges in gaining fan attention.

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2/ The second stadium presented wat the one by Arsenal FC: the Emirates Stadium, built in 2006, so now 10 year young. In that time, it was the most technologically advanced stadium in the world.  This is no longer the case. Therefore, Arsenal has undertaken a number of projects to refresh the stadium. This includes the use of technology to improve the fan experience as well as the operational experience, said Hywel Sloman.

3/ Third was Texas (A&M University System). Mathew Almand explained how they installed a robust, campus-wide Wi-Fi system in the stadium. He gave us a comprehensive look at the principles of, and best practices for network design and deployment in college stadiums and arenas. The system currently supports 37,000+ unique clients and generates a total traffic of 5.7 TB!

4/ The session ended with John Paul from Venue Next, the technology provider of the Super Bowl. The company has quickly established a strong foothold in sports since its debut at Levi’s Stadium in 2014, deploying its unique platform to generate unprecedented business results for teams including the San Francisco 49ers and the Orlando Magic.

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In my opinion, these sessions went much less into detail as the ones of the first day on position and performance tracking. But anyway, it was nice to hear and see how teams are changing the ways fan experience their favorite teams, in or out of the stadium.

The symposium ended with a session on ICT Opportunities in Sports. Victor Barreira showcased the new Rafa Nadal Sports Centre by Movistar. I found it very inspiring to see that they included the ‘Rafa Nadal Sport Xperience’, an interactive space and museum where state-of-the-art simulators ensure enjoyment for e.g. kids and youth. I immediately called with ‘Technopolis’ once back home, since this Flemish tech experience centre is planning to organize something similar in 2018. Gerry Pennell from the International Olympic Committee subsequently showed the crowd how they deal with the challenges of managing ICT innovation in a sport/business context. And finally (last but not least), Daniel Brusilovsky of the Golden State Warriors showed how it is to always look at the technologies of the future, which ultimately appear already out there. Technology like virtual reality, beacons, indoor wayfinding and wireless charging are just a few of the technologies that live in the “Innovation Engine” at the Golden State Warriors.

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Overall. I believe the team of FC Barcelona did a tremendous job in bringing together so many people from around a globe, sharing all the same passion: striving to be the best by learning from each other.

This is a video rewrapping the second day of the event:

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