The hype cycle of Football Digital Business in 2016 (II)

In my previous post in this series, I introduced my version of the well-known Gartner’s Hype Cycle report for going through and review the state-of-the-art of Digital Business in the Football industry by the end of 2016:

Hype Cycle in Sports Digital Business
Hype Cycle in Sports Digital Business

In this second and last post, I will comment a few other relevant technologies or trends.

Slope of Enlightenment

Smart Stadium, venue apps, beacons and WIFI in the venue

After being the big hype in 2013 and 2014, the sports marketers and the technology providers had to face the challenge of moving from Powerpoints to reality, thinking the best approach in real life cases. There’s still a lot of recycled technological bullshit under the umbrella of the Smart Stadium concept, with the old blue chips trying to sell the old things with new names.

Quite different is the situation of the venue apps that, step by step, started providing new services to the fans leveraged by the presence of WIFI coverage. Once again, we find the best references in the industry in the United States and the MLB but many European venues are moving forward in this area.

Plateau of Productivity

Fans CRM

After a few years of rush about this topic, now, Fans CRM and CRM nurturing are two consolidated strategies among the big clubs and progressively by the rest. Social networks and the frictionless provided by social logins (yes, Facebook Connect mainly) has boosted the ability of the clubs to convert anonymous fans to registered users with enough information to segment and monetise.

The challenges now are: effectively provide a consistent and cross-platform (web/app/wifi) single sign-on and progressively profile the fans with additional information useful from a business perspective.

Club’s App

We live in a smartphone world and building apps to deliver the best user experience is not a point of discussion anymore. Clubs’ apps are today a good tool to keep fans connected along the week with pros like push notifications and easy registration processes.

The eternal debate on a single-huge app vs multiple-small apps is not solved, and probably will not be in the current paradigm.

Technology triggers

Virtual Reality

VR is entering fast into the Peak of Inflated Expectations as everybody is now talking about and first experiences are being tested (NBA, ManCity). In my opinion, Virtual Reality will be a game changer not only in sports but in our society: it will disrupt how we get fun, how we work, how we communicate, … However, in the current technology stage it’s still too primitive (it lacks definition, smoothness and interactivity) and it’s still a niche for very early adopters.

Probably in 3-6 years these limitations will be solved and I expect a huge adoption that will drive new revenue streams and opportunities.


There’s some kind of pretty excitement with cord-cutting in the sports media rights landscape, but at the same time it’s so dangerous in terms of business model for sport organisations that seems that we can only talk about it shyly. In the coming years, Internet will allow Sport leagues (or media rights holders) to disintermediate broadcasters and tackle the consumers and fans directly with a huge improvement of the revenues. But the change is so sharp and so impacting in the clubs and leagues P&L that nobody figures out how to make it.

NBA, MLS and NFL have their own OTT platforms to experiment but in this side of the pond we are still looking each other wondering who will step forward first.

Artificial Intelligence chat bots

This is another cool thing we discovered in the last 12 months. Now that we have websites and apps, it seems that our users and fans want to chat with us using Facebook Messenger, Telegram and Skype. Personally, I still prefer to use an app or a website than typing to a still dumb bot, but in a few years, we can foresee high human answers and reactions from the bots.

By the moment, I would invest my budget into some of the previous trends (gamification, venue apps, CRM improvement).

I hope you enjoyed this essay and I’m looking forward to hear from you in the comments or contacting me directly.

Read part I

One Comment

  1. Pingback: The hype cycle of Football Digital Business in 2016 (I) – joaquim cardona

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