According to a newly launched report by global consulting, technology and outsourcing company Capgemini - the official Global Innovation Partner of the Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series - 68% of Australians say emerging technologies have enhanced their sporting experiences.
Other key findings on Australians and their sport include:
- 61% of Australian respondents report an increase on the number of matches they watch following a good experience with technology in sport inside and outside the stadium
- The most common in-stadium tech experience for Australian fans is getting regular match updates on their mobiles while watching a live match (37%) and
- In Australia, outside the stadium, a quarter (24%) of fans are streaming matches live on VR to simulate in-stadium experience
The Capgemini report, titled 'Emerging technologies in sports: reimagining the fan experience' , used responses from over 10,000 sport fans around the world, including Australia, to shed light on positive consumer experiences with tech in sport, as well as how athletes are increasingly using it for training, injury prevention and improving performance.
According to the Capgemini report, sports fans from Asian countries lead in using emerging technologies, with fans in countries including India, Hong Kong, and Singapore leading in the adoption and acceptance of emerging technologies in sports.
The survey reveals that close to three-quarters of Asian fans (74%) have experienced the use of emerging technology in the stadium, with India leading at 88%.
However, this drops to 56% for the United States, 50% for Germany, and below 50% each for Canada, France, United Kingdom - and Australia.
Furthermore, 33% of Australian fans said they would be willing to pay more if new technologies enhanced their stadium experience, compared to 71% of Asian fans, 40% of North American fans, and 34% of European fans.
The study shows that for 69% of fans globally, the use of emerging technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), has enhanced their overall viewing experience both inside and outside the stadium - and a positive experience with technologies also enhances overall fan engagement.
Of respondents who liked their technology experiences, 56% said they would actually go to more physical matches at their team’s stadium as a result, and 60% said they would stream more matches online.
And nearly half of fans (49%) have often increased their spending on team merchandise following a good experience and 42% have increased this spend a few times, while 92% said they increased their spend on online subscriptions for watching matches (either often or a few times).
The report also shows that fans who have experienced emerging technologies during a recent visit to a stadium are more satisfied with their experience overall, highlighting a 25-point NPS (Net Promoter Score) difference between fans who have experienced emerging technologies and those who have not.
Capgemini says emerging technologies are helping athletes perform better and avoid injuries - with athletes increasingly using a variety of emerging technologies for activities, including training, injury prevention and tracking performance.
“For example, Zone7, a company using data and analytics for identifying and avoiding potential career-threatening injuries to athletes, has achieved 95% accuracy in predicting injuries and has been able to reduce potential injuries by 75%,” Capgemini says.
Tom Mitchell, Captain of England’s Rugby Sevens Team said, “The use of virtual reality in reviewing training sessions and matches can have a big impact on sports”.
“If you can put yourself in a given situation instead of just reviewing a match by watching a video, then the learning and reviewing experience becomes much more real.
“If you are able to be in that situation again, either through VR or another technology, it would be a massive step up in terms of the reviewing and learning experience.”
Capgemini says sports organisations across the world are now presented with a huge opportunity to tap into evolving consumer expectations and make far more customised and personalised fan engagement.
According to the new report, organisations can focus on the following areas to adopt and optimise emerging technologies in sports:
- Reassure fans on usage of personal data by seeking consent where possible on use of data, being transparent about the use and protection of consumer data, and demonstrating the value that consumers stand to gain with this data exchange,
- Identify user needs before investing in and deploying emerging technologies,
- Convert more fans to ‘avid fans’ by defining a digital fan experience and offering ‘hyper-personalised’ experiences,
- Build digital practices, capabilities, and transform organizational culture by investing in a digital culture, skills, and cross-sharing of information across sports organisations to drive greater innovation.