More than 2,000 athletes training every day in Sports City, 120 teams playing every weekend, 5 professional sports, 10 amateur sections, a stadium with almost 100,000 seats, 291 million fans, 3.5 million visitors per year. This is the ‘day-to-day’ of FC Barcelona, a ‘day-to-day’ with a privileged environment in which to set up a sports laboratory facilitating the design, testing and development of new ideas, knowledge, products or services for the advancement of sports development. This great sports laboratory is the Barça Innovation Hub.
Looking to the Future Through Knowledge and Open Innovation
What changes will the sports industry undergo in the next decade?
This is a difficult question to answer. However, the Barça Innovation Hub was born as an FC Barcelona strategic project in order to promote these changes through its three main activity areas: developing and sharing knowledge, transforming this knowledge intoinnovation by integrating it into new products and services, and promoting an open, collaborative culture that facilitates an ecosystem of collaboration between different players in the sports industry. These three main activity areas take form in a sports laboratory that promotes 4 project types: scientific research; co-development of products and services; training; and the organization of congresses and conferences.
Barça Innovation Hub is integrated into the FC Barcelona Knowledge Area and is divided into seven cross-sectional work areas which are related to each other: team sports, athletic performance, sports analysis and technology, health and wellness, fan engagement and big data, smart facilities and social innovation. These 7 areas replicate the operational structure of the club and are responsible for selecting and filtering all the projects that will form an active part of the sports laboratory.
One of the fundamental principles of the Barça Innovation Hub is the conviction that, in scientific research and innovation projects, collaboration between different types of entities generates more efficient and robust results which are suitable for the needs of end users. In this respect, the Barça Innovation Hub promotes collaboration with universities and research centers, with other clubs and sports entities, with the club’s sponsors, with leading brands in the sector, with investors, start-ups, students, athletes and fans.
All Barça Innovation Hub training activities and dissemination of knowledge are included in the Barça Universitas program. This platform includes training activities, conferences and congresses. It has a strong digital component aimed at giving an exponential nature to its development and global impact to its reach. Since its launch (in April 2017), it has brought together more than 3,000 students from 65 countries in one of its 12 online programs, designed by a community of experts from the sports sector made up of Club and external professionals who are leaders in their areas of specialization.