In only four years, interest in the conference has jumped from 200 registrations to more than 1000 this year, including major players from around the world.
Their interests ranged from injury prevention and training technology, through to enhancing broadcasts and engaging members.
However, one theme was dominant: that in an ever-more complex world with less attention span and increasing options for recreation, sporting clubs and associations need to know their players and their fans much better.
And that’s where sports technology comes in.
The North Queensland Cowboys demonstrated how they were struggling with old paper-based membership and marketing systems that failed to communicate with each other, let alone with members effectively.
A new technology system has allowed them to integrate their membership, marketing, ticketing and hospitality sections into one system that informs everyone simultaneously – significantly improving membership growth, communication and satisfaction.
Star Sports is the largest sport broadcaster in Asia and faced a dilemma trying to grow the IPL cricket audience.
Research showed that traditional cricket fans thought IPL was too lightweight, and not supported by facts and figures. The company invested heavily in to providing cutting-edge data to its IPL broadcasts, and designed a cutting-edge platform designed exclusively for phone users.
Since then fan engagement with IPL has soared.
Speakers from Google explained their technology developments to try and make sport more personalised, providing the content you want when you want and tailored to you.
They also reinforced that second-tier sports and associations with limited budgets could also benefit, with many of the sport tech programs available free in basic versions if you do your homework.
A speaker from KMPG said customer satisfaction was critical, but it had to be meaningful – he highlighted modern stadium designs that incorporated technology to inform people of what was available near them based on their seat allocation.
The CEO of Champion Data said sports like AFL and AFLW and networks like Fox Sports were embracing sports tech and providing fans and subscribers with added-value, making them better informed and better engaged.
She stressed the importance of making data meaningful and relevant, as bombarding people with other data was a disaster.
The CEO of Cricket Australia said sports tech was breathing new life into community cricket, with an online cricket scoring system for local clubs saving thousands of hours of volunteers’ time compared with the old and complex paper scoring books.
The CEO of Netball Australia said netball had probably been a little slow in embracing sports tech, as it had enjoyed pretty much a monopoly on female sport, but was now celebrating the development of women’s codes like cricket and AFLW. She said netball was now catching up on other sports and integrating advanced player status and statistics in its communications and media broadcasts.
The Head of Vicsport outlined the tremendous growth in women’s sport and the work done by the Office of Women in Sport and Recreation to grow female participation both on the field and in leadership and board positions.
This had been made possible by a lot of hard work, but also by systems and processes that made it easier and practical to attract women with the right skills to get involved in running sport and sport tech.
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The Victorian Government was proud to support the event, and also announced a new activation fund to help emerging sport tech companies scale up and reach their goals.