Digital infrastructures and business models
Digitization in professional sports extends to different areas beyond the sporting competition (off-pitch), such as the digital transformation of stadiums, professional sports organizations and the management of sports clubs and their stakeholders. However, digitization in sports is also paving new paths of social responsibility for the individual, the fans and our society and is driving innovation in the areas of energy management, resource-saving stadium operation, security and mobility, among others.
Digital competitions and performance analytics
State-of-the-art goal-line technology, wearables in training control or eSports. In addition to previously untapped potential, digitization also offers new challenges in sports competition on the field (on-pitch). Technological developments not only change the rules of the game on the field, but also the character of the sport itself. The question arises “How much digitization can sport take?” and “How can the potential of digital technologies be exploited in professional sport?
To accompany the digital transformation in sports, we build on many years of knowledge from applied and scientific research projects in the field of digital technologies. This includes structuring in eight fields of action, with which we make the digital transformation in organizations and companies tangible. This structuring aid allows us to formulate specific, individual and goal-oriented recommendations.
In close cooperation with various professional sports clubs from the entire DACH region, we were able to prove the existence of both on-field and off-field elements within each of the eight fields of action.
The separation or interaction of off-field and on-field elements of digitization thus forms the core of digital transformation in the sports industry. The challenge is to strategically and consciously define the balance between both areas within each field of action.
We consider it as our task to support you in this challenge and thus make our contribution towards the successful transformation of the sports industry.
In recent years Artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into everyday private and business life. The use of AI is also becoming increasingly important in sports. By means of machine learning, both sports and business-oriented data can be used in a value-generating way. The applications are extremely diverse and range from individual performance analytics and individualized perimeter advertising to active supportive intervention in the sporting event itself.
In collaboration with the Fraunhofer AI Lab, our Digital Sports team investigates the maturity of the sports industry for the use of artificial intelligence, develops individual data strategies and roadmaps, and supports the identification and evaluation of AI use cases. More information can also be found on the Fraunhofer AI Lab page.
More information about our AI Lab can be found here.
At the intersection of sports and blockchain, we address the fundamental technological and socio-economic issues regarding the classification, potentials and possible applications of decentralized systems in the sports sector. In this context, we investigate the use of blockchain technology in different application areas in sports, such as self-determined digital identities (SSI) in ticketing, fan tokens to increase fan participation or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as an extension of the digital product range at sports organizations.
Furthermore, we bundle our Blockchain competencies with expertise from the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to promote the convergence of technologies and thus leverage potentials in sports.
More information about our blockchain lab can be found here.
Smartphones or tablets are just a few examples of how digital technologies and the associated information systems have long been an integral part of our everyday lives. However, the individual use of these technologies varies greatly. In the research area Human-Computer Interaction, we deal with the interaction of humans with machines. Emerging digital technologies are constantly changing the way we work, creating new patterns of interaction for both parties. These insights can be used to specifically focus on the human or the machine-based capabilities. In the future, the interaction between man and machine will shape our collaboration more strongly than ever before. Possible application scenarios include training apps or fan apps that can assess the user's state or situation and adapt their functionality accordingly.
More information about the research field Human-Computer-Interaction can be found here.
The penetration of the economy and society with digital technologies is leading to growing innovation pressure for companies in all industries. The key challenges for companies such as large sports associations are, on the one hand, to ensure that their business models are future-proof by continuously adapting corporate structures to ever changing ways of doing business. Companies in the sports industry also need to structure their service and product portfolios in such a way that they can respond to changes in the market and technologies. As part of the Digital Innovation Management competence, we address these challenges by developing innovative business and revenue models to optimize the way sports associations and sports clubs operate and secure additional revenue streams.
More information on digital innovation management can be found here.
In terms of telemedicine, big data and the networking of athletes, technological progress is enabling new forms of care, improved communication and increased digitization of the fitness and healthcare sector. Digital health includes applications such as wearables and measures that use the possibilities of modern information and communication technologies. These support, for example, the treatment and care of patients or athletes or the prevention of sports injuries. Data analytics functions here as a methodological toolbox that makes it possible to derive concrete and action-oriented recommendations from the broad mass of available data. The goal of this research area is to improve medical prevention and treatment by using digital technologies.
More information on the Digital Society research area can be found here.
Efficient use of energy and innovative projects are needed to reduce costs and operate stadiums in a way that conserves resources and cuts CO2 emissions. In addition, an innovative networked mobility concept can help to make stadium visits more sustainable. Electromobility can also create a major contribution to achieving the energy transition and thus also to reduce CO2 emissions. The electrification of transport and in particular the associated charging of electric cars holds great potential, but also brings new technical and economic challenges.
More information on the research field Energy Management and Mobility can be found here.
Optimal fan centricity is considered a success factor in professional sports business. However, customer relationship management is much more than just software or a CRM tool. Rather, it is a philosophy that includes a 360° view of the fan in real time. Fan-related processes and the dialog with fans should be optimized along the customer journey throughout the entire fan lifecycle to enable effective and efficient communication. Conversely, targeted measures can increase fan loyalty and thus lead to higher sales in ticketing, merchandising or sponsoring.
More information about Customer Relationship Management can be found here.
AI readiness, performance analytics
Wearables, Digital Stadium
Club-Tokens, Self-Sovereign Identity
Digital Business Models, Social Media
How to Change the Game? – Managing Digital Transformation in professional Sports Organizations
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that further digitalization measures by traditional sports clubs are necessary in order to remain competitive with other entertainment offerings. Successful digital transformation of professional sports organizations, however, means more than simply using technology in existing processes. Rather, both competition-related (on-field) and business-related (off-field) processes of a sports club must be rethought. Digital transformation thus requires a structured approach to organizational change at all its levels and in all fields of action of digitalization.
Together with experts from leading professional sports clubs in the DACH region, we developed a holistic framework that can be used as a roadmap for systematically managing the digital transformation of sports officials. We identify eight sports-specific building blocks for a successful digital transformation in professional sports clubs. Furthermore, there are interactions between the on- and off-field activities of a sports club, which have an impact on the transformation management of digitalization. Instead of separating the on- and off-field spheres, a connection between the two should be established and a holistic perspective adopted in order to make digitization decisions more proactive.