According to a recent report^ from B2B analysts MarketsandMarkets, sports technology sector revenue is estimated to reach USD$30 billion by 2024, compared to the market value of USD$8.9 billion in 2018. This unprecedented growth demonstrates how fan consumption and their interaction with sport is changing, from live streaming on eSports to getting the latest updates via apps.
COVID-19 has created fresh demands for new and engaging ways to watch and interact with sport, contributing to the already increasing demand related to fan engagement and the use of technology in sport.^^
eSports has illustrated how technology is boosting the industry with the production of high-quality fan engagement tools and approaches. eSports revenue alone grew by USD$878 million between 2014 and 2019^^^. As well as leagues’ use of athlete technology, performance optimisation and venue technology are continuing to grow the sports technology sector as well.
Other areas of the sport industry witnessing an increase in demand for online and technological solutions includes the sport education sector. As an example, the International Tennis Federation recently saw demand for their online learning platform iCoach rise significantly, demonstrating not only the desire for upskilling in the industry but also the appeal of online learning for the industry.
Steven Potts, Director Corporate and Government World Academy of Sport, says that since COVID-19 players, coaches and managers from many international sport organisations are taking the opportunity to upskill.
“Like many industries, there is no doubt that the sport industry has been dented by COVID-19. However from what we’ve seen globally, sport is taking this opportunity to rejuvenate itself. It is examining how it can approach some things better and how to embrace technology and what innovation that brings to the industry - whether through online learning, virtual sports events or developing skills to deliver sports analytics.”
Even before COVID-19, the World Academy of Sport was working on a way to respond to industry changes and demands by partnering with Australia’s Federation University to deliver a bespoke and 100% online Bachelor of International Sport Management. The globally available degree will inject graduates into an industry where the career options are diverse and wide ranging: fields include branding, media, fan and stadium experiences, data analytics and performance enhancements, to name a few.
Purpose built for online delivery from the outset, the degree teaches 21st century skills to students and readies them to embrace a fast-growing and ever-changing sport industry. Registrations are open now and the degree will be available for students to study from February 2021 onwards.
While sport diversifies and considers new ways of engaging its audience, the education of sport industry professionals is pivoting alongside it, embracing technology and innovation to further build upon an already sustainable and fast-changing sport industry.