This August I was lucky enough to attend and co-present at the Australia Sports Tech Conference in Melbourne. It was an outstanding event, bringing together a variety of stakeholders from sport rights holders, brands, and emerging products/vendors. It was great to some of the impressive new technology and innovation for sport coming out of Australia and the event was as a perfect opportunity to bring executive, commercial, business insights, membership, high performance, and game day team members all together in one world class venue.
Looking back on the event, there were some clear takeaways for me and the rest of the KORE team that attended.
Fan Engagement is Alive and Flourishing
Fan engagement is definitely the “hot topic” within sport rights holders and brands at the moment. The fact that this concept is so far reaching and all encompassing has meant that there are many pioneers in this space generating new ideas and rights holders are clamouring to be the best of breed when it comes to engaging with their fans.
By showcasing the newest interactive tech, like AI or VR, and by sharing innovative way a rights holder can track and utilise fan data to enrich and personalise their experience, this event provided some outstanding examples of how the above could be implemented.
In our session, we presented a live case study with the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys focused on this very topic, sharing how the club leveraged KORE technology to amplify their fan engagement. We took the audience through the project’s initial pain points, from data drama to lack of visibility, and explored how the club became more efficient across departments like membership, corporate hospitality, marketing/brand development, and finance, saving an average of 25 hours per week by reducing manual data entry into spreadsheets. Check out the case study for more info!
The presentation from Sanjog Gupta at Star Sports gave great insight into how broadcasters are using content to amplify a fan’s digital experience, and KLIP Sports gave a fantastic run through of the science behind branded content and what brands and rights holders should be doing to ensure cut through.
All in all, it was very clear that the fan is definitely front of mind for sports rights holders and the brands engaged in this space.
Local Brands, Products, and Organisations are Inspiring at a Variety of Levels
Locally grown products and brands like Champion Data, Catapult, and KangaTech are the perfect example of how Australian innovation is still shining through in a truly global market. The vendors on display in the trade section of the conference covered a huge variety of sports technology and solutions for rights holders, brands, governments, and venues.
Gone are the days when Australian sports organisations need to look overseas for a world class solution to their membership, ticketing, high performance advantage, or data tracking pain points. Furthermore, we are starting to see international rights holders really look to Australia for a solution in these areas. You only have to look as far as KangaTech and the number if international teams that utilise this home grown technology to prevent injuries to see this shift.
International Still Leads the Way
Not to contradict my previous takeaway, it was still very clear that we look to the US and other slightly more developed markets for case studies and inspiration across the board. One of the keynote presenters was from FC Barcelona, and the unbelievable presentation from Toni Knowlson at Amazon Web Services (AWS), highlighted our desire to hear from other international markets to either legitimise what we are doing here, or to find ways to gain an advantage over our domestic competitors.
Collaboration is Key
The huge variety of industry professionals from all areas of a sporting organisation and the different types of stakeholders represented at the event (rights holders, brands, government, venues, vendors) allowed for the conference to enable true collaboration across the board.
Each break out area was full of small groups networking, learning, and collaborating throughout the whole day. There was a clear vibe of collaboration present at the conference, and this is the general consensus throughout the Australian sports industry at the moment. “Rising tides lift all ships” is definitely being adhered to across different leagues and codes at the moment, and this was even more evident during our day in Melbourne.
A day of great networking, collaborating, and learning from some of the best in the industry was what we got out of the Australia Sports Tech Conference 2019, but it is the ongoing interactions with these newfound connections and stakeholders that is the greatest reward from the event.
I can’t wait to see what other innovation comes out of the Australian sports technology market, and how we continue to grow and develop in a truly global industry. Plus, I am even more excited about playing a big role in the concept of fan engagement for our region.
Written by: Sam Irvine
KORE is the global leader in engagement marketing solutions, serving more than 200 professional teams and 850+ sports and entertainment properties worldwide, providing practical tools and services to harness customer data, facilitate sponsorship sales and activation, and create actionable insights.