In my podcast, I explore the many different facets of the world of high tech from development to marketing, to sales, to entrepreneurship, all with the goal of collecting key insights on startups for listeners to gain value from this knowledge-sharing. So what did I discover this week?
Sports technology, as a field, is growing as teams, clubs, and management all look for new ways to improve their performance. Performance is not just on the field but in the consumer realm as well. The question many teams and sports clubs are asking themselves is - how do you keep the younger generations interested in sports in a digital age?
Beyond staying relevant in the digital age, many sports teams and clubs confront a number of issues that range from athletic performance, injury prevention, content distribution, and the list goes on. Yet, they are slow to adopt technological innovations since, well, it can be catastrophic for them if it goes wrong. “These teams and clubs have their reputations to protect, any little thing that goes wrong could be a big deal, so we are connecting technological solutions to them that meet their actual needs”, Amir adds.
Amir Raveh, Founder and CEO of Hype Sports Innovations, and himself a former soccer player saw how beneficial it would be to connect teams and leagues to solutions that actually matter. Hype Sports Innovation helps the sports tech ecosystem by providing a platform for startups to develop and showcase their ideas, providing resources and support to help them bring their products and services to market. He wanted to make sure he was sourcing the best technology at an international scale since sports is something that brings meaning and entertainment to everyone throughout the world. With a portfolio consisting of over 300 companies and with 100 partners spanning the Premiere League, NFL, NBA, and more, he sees Hype Sports Innovation as a global ecosystem able to actually address the pertinent issues sports teams are facing today, both with their athletes and their fans.
Understanding Your Customer: Sports Teams
“We realized we needed to go a different route in sports, and actually use our partners’ problems and support them through our startups,” Amir explains. Many similar incubator and accelerator programs often source startups first with the hope of growing them to a point that they answer the needs of a given customer group. Yet, Amir recognized that to be truly impactful in sports, he needed to do the opposite. Actually, in many ways, it is more intuitive and already showcases the innovative character Hype Sports Innovation breeds.
“These teams don’t want new technology, they are ok doing business as usual, but they have needs, and for that, we can provide an answer,” Amir says, “and in that way give them actual value.” By leveraging partnerships with major sports, Hype is then able to put its startups in front of some of the biggest clubs and teams in the world. This includes working closely with teams to identify areas where technology can improve the fan experience, as well as working with startups to refine their offerings according to the sports teams. By working closely with teams and startups, Hype Sports Innovation helps to create a more seamless and integrated sports technology experience.
Amir’s Prediction: The Future is Digital and The Power is in the Fans
“Sports is going digital and the fans demand more in terms of an experience,” Amir mentions, “and the teams are looking at how to engage their fans better”. Fan engagement is a key focus for Hype Sports Innovation, constantly exploring new and innovative startups that are developing new ways for teams to connect with their fans. Amir considers Gen Z’ers and others to be essentially helping to push fan engagement innovation forward, as these digital natives look for more sports offerings that meet their digital expectations.
For instance, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology could provide a whole new avenue that can enhance how fans relate to a game or consume content about their favourite players. Amir likewise believes in the power of AR/VR apps and the metaverse – or virtually simulated world, that will allow fans to engage with their favourite sports teams and players, even remotely, and in a more immersive and interactive way. The metaverse offers a wide range of possibilities for sports teams, including the ability to host virtual events, create customized VIP experiences for fans, and even allow fans to interact with players and other fans in real-time.
From working with startups to develop new solutions to leverage the power of AR and the metaverse, Hype Sports Innovations proves that it is constantly exploring new ways to enhance the sports experience, for fans and athletes. As the sports industry continues to evolve, I have no doubt that Hype Sports Innovation will be at the forefront of promoting new technologies and shaping the future of sports.