Real-Time Sports Analytics Engages Fans at Home and in the Park


Sport is on the cusp of a major digital transformation, especially considering the rise of real-time sports analytics, AI, and the Internet of Things.

Previously, we reported on Miami Heat’s real-time relationship with fans entering its stadium and watching its games as well as other performances within the venue. Through mobile apps tied to real-time sports analytics, the organizers know who’s attending their events, and can deliver services and real-time updates to enrich the fan experience.

What is the state of real-time sports analytics in today’s Covid-disrupted climate? This was the topic of a recent report on Smart Sports published by MIT Technology Review, in which the report’s authors point to digital technologies changing the face of the sports industry. For example, “emerging technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, AI, or biometrics have enhanced their overall viewing experience, both inside and outside the stadium.”

Fans watching remotely “have primarily benefited from greater immersion in the actual live experience,” the report continues. “All National Basketball Association games, for example, can now be live-streamed by NextVR to fans’ VR headsets. These replicate the experience of sitting courtside, even allowing viewers to look around by turning their heads. NextVR has also demonstrated the technology in boxing, golf, and motorsports. Other enhanced remote audience experiences include the ability to switch between different camera angles and more social viewing experiences: live streaming a match on one half of the screen and interacting with friends on the other.”

Digital solutions are also helping sports organizations get around the loss of live events due to Covid-19. These include creating new models of event hosting that minimize face-to-face interactions; transferring offline game watching to online game watching; producing brand new content from events; and further promoting new digital events.

“Technology has transformed sport from localized activities into a global industry, worth $488.5 billion in 2018,” the report’s authors state. “And there is still a lot more it can offer the world of sports, from improving athlete performance to managing spectator experiences at major live events and delivering interactive home audience experiences. Sport is on the cusp of a major digital transformation, especially considering the rise of AI and the internet of things.”

Before Covid, “fans inside the stadium were using emerging technologies to, among other things, receive regular match updates, such as offside calls or relevant fun facts, while watching live; access high-speed WiFi to share content to social media; and order food and beverages online and have them delivered directly to their seats,” the report explains. “Cloud computing is elevating these new experiences and sources of entertainment for sports fans by stitching together digital marketing, commerce, viewing, and gaming solutions.”


About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights Industry Editor and industry analyst focusing on artificial intelligence, digital, cloud and Big Data topics. His work also appears in Forbes an Harvard Business Review. Over the last three years, he served as co-chair for the AI Summit in New York, as well as on the organizing committee for IEEE's International Conferences on Edge Computing. (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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