It is undeniable that technology has a huge impact on everyday life. It changed our way of life and it will continue to do so for years to come. Not only in the way we work and relax, but also in sports. The changed technology also brings many changes when it comes to business models and marketing. Whether it concerns the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the rise of the wearables or the increasing popularity of the eSports: marketing, technology and sports go hand in hand. These various developments and trends are the perfect example of this.
The fact that sustainability and sports do go hand in hand is evident from the increasing success of plogging. If you've never heard of it, it's one combination of running and clearing the streets of waste. It is a phenomenon that came over from Sweden and is extremely popular in the Netherlands. People do not only plogging to work on their condition, but also to contribute to environmental protection.
The latter is what marketers and marketing campaigns mainly focus on. Since plogging happens outside, marketers are much more committed to outdoor clothing. It can be outdoor jackets or sports shoes. Usually these products are also sustainable and made of recycled plastic so that the 'good feeling' is even greater with potential consumers. As a marketing company, it is better to respond well to this, since sport and sustainability are two important topics that always recur in current events.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
When we think of AI, we immediately think of technology, data and computers. Three elements that marketing companies use during campaigns focused on sports. Thanks to AI, marketers can find out data very quickly. This concerns, for example, the past performance or health of the users, but also their more personal data. Which sports content do they find interesting, what kind of sports clothes do they buy and which sports do they prefer? Companies all know this thanks to AI.
Although the combination of AI and sports is still growing, Under Armor has already capitalized on it a lot. Under Armor is a fast-growing sports equipment manufacturer that uses AI for a variety of purposes. Not only for improving their products but also for their marketing campaigns. The AI allows them to learn more about the consumers so that the campaigns can be executed even more targeted.
If there is one phenomenon that perfectly illustrates the changing technology, sports and marketing, it is the rise of the eSports. While eSports is considered gaming, for some it is also a real sport. It is about status, money and players who practice day in and day out and develop new strategies to win the professional leagues.
In contrast to 'normal' gaming, the eSports are thrown in packed arenas in front of many supporters. The influence of the eSport can also be felt in other areas. eSports not only changed the world of online sports, but also the bets related to the Premier League and other major leagues such as Bundesliga and La Liga, and the sponsorship of global companies such as Red Bull, Coca-Cola and Audi. It is these large multinationals that are always respond more to eSports because of the increasing popularity.
The name "Wearables" actually says it all. It is a piece of technology that you wear around your body and that you use when exercising. This goes from the well-known smartwatches to the most technological portable sensors. Not only can you track the number of steps, but you also use wearables, for example, to keep your blood sugar levels on track and to improve your posture.
The first company to clearly see a connection between technology, marketing and sports was the American Fitbit. The company has been producing activity trackers since 2007 that allow users to track heart rate, sleep quality and the number of stairs climbed, among other things. The data that appears via Fitbit and other wearables can always be transferred to a laptop. From the moment users view this data, it actually becomes child's play for the marketers. It is this personal data that marketers use to perfectly optimize their campaigns. It becomes even easier for marketers thanks to the 'terms' that we always accept without reading them.
Virtual Reality (VR)
When hearing Virtual Reality, games (video games or real-life games) probably come to mind. However, VR is also used when practicing sports. Thanks to VR you can train in real-life conditions, even if you are not on the field. Improving techniques, increasing stamina and developing strategies has never been easier with VR.
Thanks to the high-tech analysis methods, you can not only fine-tune your tactics, but also visualize the tactics of your opponents. This is mainly due to the augmented reality associated with it. For example, you can determine the 'next move' of your opponent here thanks to the data. Virtual Reality is an important tool among athletes worldwide, especially in a team. One of the tools marketed in the field of virtual reality and sports, is ICON Q. It is used by football players and includes LED lights, pressure panels and training games. Thanks to the ICON Q, they keep track of their own progress, but also the progress of potential opponents.
What does the future hold for sports marketing?
As technology continues to change in the coming decades, marketers will have to track their campaigns. Curious what technological gadgets we will see in the emerging sports commercials!