Sport and accessibility for all have become phrases we naturally associate with each other – but it is important to consider the role that technology plays, not only in improving the experience for players and spectators but in collecting, protecting and commercialising data. News that a number of Manchester City Football Club supporters will get to wear scarves incorporating a biometric sensor within the fabric for monitoring emotional and movement data is a prime example.
With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games well underway, it is important to consider the wider role technology now plays in delivering sporting events. Whether this be through tracking race times, using video technology to improve the spectator experience or data tracking to provide player performance stats, the evolution of technology in sport is an important development to recognise.
Manchester City’s ‘Connected Scarf’ captures and analyses a supporter’s body bio-signals throughout a match. By measuring their psychological and physical responses in this way, it is possible to provide valuable information on how fans feel at key points and moments during a game.
Of course, this is the most recent example of technology leading the way in benefitting both the end user and the player – and, importantly, it draws attention to the timeline of technology milestones that have led to this point.
This is actually the latest in an extensive series of developments that improve the experience of sporting events for attendees – for example, the first large LED screens to be seen in UK football stadia were installed back in 1997 and it was not until 2017 that Sky Sports installed an interactive board in their studio for match analysis.
Where today we see Manchester United Football Club use data tracking to improve the experience of fans, back in 2010 The Bradford Bulls Rugby team became the first team to utilise GPS tracking to collect data and stats on player performance.
At Birmingham 2022, the sheer number of commercial agreements needed to facilitate the Games’ delivery is immense, so having a unique model in place that allows for the smooth implementation of tech-related delivery is key. At the heart of this is a data collection, ownership and transfer system that incorporates all of the legal requirements for the use of data in the run-up to, during and following the Games.
We recently covered these issues in a webinar featuring an esteemed panel of speakers from the Games to explore how in delivering this large-scale international sporting event they have:
- Used technology in innovative ways to enhance spectator experience.
- Utilised the collection of data to help shape and maximise commercial revenue.
- Overcome issues on data collection and storage as a result of working with so many different stakeholders/third parties.
- Built and developed a global fan base while complying with data protection regulation.
- Collected data safely from merchandising partners.
- Maximised website conversion rates via digital channels.