March marked the beginning of alliantgroup’s series of Future Focus panel discussions in collaboration with InnovationMap. The conversation centered on the Sports-tech industry and the emergence of new multi-billion-dollar markets born out of exciting technological innovation. Cloud technology, social media, streaming applications, and smart devices have changed the game for fans and athletes alike. Whether you’re tracking your Fantasy Football team’s performance in real-time or viewing a live stream of your favorite player’s training session, we already see the impacts of the convergence of sports and technology and how it’s shaping our engagement. Our panel of experts expanded on four key impacts here in the Houston area and how they will impact the future.
Gone are the days when an individual couldn’t amount to anything if they spent all day playing video games. The advent of streaming and Esports allows talented players to make a living playing the games they love, and large audiences are willing to tune in. Beena George, chief innovation officer and Professor of Management at the University of St. Thomas, explained how the university is getting in on the game.
“The University of St. Thomas made a commitment to understanding the advances in science and sports technology. The first thing we looked at was EA Sports. We have competitive teams playing different games and I am very proud to say that our League of Legends team has won multiple national championships.”
The University now offers academic scholarships to students recruited to their EA Sports teams, helping advance the competition into the digital realm.
Sports betting, or “sports investment” as our panel referred to it, continues to move into the mainstream as more data and sophisticated platforms have been made available to fans. Our panel sees this broadening in the future with more robust, cloud-based software that enables the fan to place micro-bets throughout a sporting event.
“Those micro bets, not bets on who’s going to win the game, but the micro bet of an individual moment, is an emerging space.,” said David Gow, our moderator with Gow Media. “I think they’ve got real scalability because micro betting is really the wave of the future and they’re the ones that enable that real-time placement of odds.”
It’s not just social media and betting that’s drawing in new and old fans. Blockchains and NFTs, largely associated with the cryptocurrency industry, are also impacting the fan experience inside venues.
“Forget all the stuff that you see with collectibles. They’re putting power back into the fan,” said Varsity Hype Chief Executive Officer Jorge Ortiz. “So, with NFT and tokenization, it gives you some ownership in regard to what you participate in.”
As Jimmy Comerota with the Astros explained further, this specific technology is all about creating a seamless experience for the fan, from the moment they arrive at the stadium.
“How frictionless can we make a general fan’s interaction with the park in the venue? How easy can it be to show up at the stadium, park my car, have an Uber drop me off in a certain location, walk in? Do I scan my phone, do I have a hard ticket? Does it know if I have COVID-19 just because I walked up? It’s knowing your people. It’s engagement.”
HEALTH & PERFORMANCE
The development of complex AI for video analysis and capturing biometric information with wearable smart tech is drastically altering the way athletes train, evaluate performance, and even determine what plays to call during a game. Tom Stallings, Professor of Sports Management at Rice University, says with this new wave of technology they are combining their sports and medical research teams.
“It’s been a great partnership. It is amazing the way that there are new capacities to track sleep, heart rate, stress levels, all the elements of wellness, and that it’s not just on the field, but it’s going to be 24/7. The ability to enhance somebody’s total wellness picture and therefore, physical fitness, and ultimately performance on the field, is really exciting.”
This is just the beginning of Sports-tech and our panel of experts are ahead of the curve in evaluating the implications of these new technologies to make Houston a leader in this space. This was just the first Future Focus discussion alliantgroup will be hosting. You won’t want to miss our next installment on SETI, search for extraterrestrial intelligence, coming in May.
About the Author
alliantgroup’s Rick White, has a wealth of experience in the software and technology space having served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999 where he founded the Internet Caucus.
Representing the First District of Washington State as Congressman, White became well known as one of Congress’s most active legislators on high tech issues.
After serving in Congress, White transitioned to international law firm, Perkins Coie, where he worked in the firm’s Electronic Commerce and Internet Law practice section. He also served as the CEO of TechNet from 2001 to 2005 where he advocated for technology companies, then moved on to serve as founder and CEO of several tech-oriented startup companies. He is currently principal at the Woodbay Group, a consulting and investment firm in Seattle.
“I’m delighted to join the amazing people at alliantgroup,” said White. “I’ve committed my career to advocating on behalf of American businesses, particularly those in the tech world, so I’m more than excited to begin my journey with a firm whose primary mission is to help U.S. businesses succeed.”
In his role with alliantgroup, White has been using his experience with American tech businesses of all sizes for the strategic benefit of alliantgroup’s clients and CPA partners.
“Rick had a remarkable career as a Congressman who worked tirelessly on behalf of American businesses. His passion for those in the tech world and beyond is infectious. I absolutely cannot wait to see the great impact he will have as a member of the alliantgroup family,” said alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Jadav.