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The era of consolidating global strategies arrives

1 Dec 2020   ·   

The strategy of major sports clubs is to consolidate the global impact they have had in recent years. Most of the fans of each team are usually located in other countries, and fandom is no longer exclusive to each city. As brands, teams have had a scope that other brands could not have dreamed of. This was one of the biggest and most relevant changes that was proposed at the Sports Tomorrow congress by the Barça Innovation Hub. The question now is how to unite transnational fans. Among the strategies that have been pointed out in the conferences, the most cited has been that of establishing ‘official fans.’ This affords the same status, but for different fans.

The desire of big clubs to reduce the influence of intermediaries, in order to be able to communicate directly with their own fans, has also been repeatedly commented on. There is an increasingly evident phenomenon in all leagues, in which clubs compete with each other only on the pitch. Outside, everyone is fighting for the same attention from the public. Entertainment has never had the magnitude that it currently enjoys, and that is why each sport, as a single company, competes against video games, television platforms, social networks and all kinds of industries in the sector. In some cases, as a representative of Bayern Munich revealed, the club shares knowledge and technology with other clubs, because, in this context, alone they would run the risk of becoming stagnant.

However, the big challenge is posed by the new generations of entertainment. eSports are becoming the essential way to reach the youngest fans from other sectors. In fact, as these conferences have shown, games are also beginning to be a top educational tool. In the first league projects carried out in the United States, they integrated students and made those who are more reserved and introverted more participatory.

In addition, a commitment to new social narratives is also essential. Angel City from Los Angeles are a newly founded women’s football club, and their statutes include the dedication of an annual percentage of profits to the development of the community. This shift is also taking place in the sponsorship sector. Advertisers want their name to appear not just alongside a major club that achieves success, but with an organisation capable of telling good stories.

Traditional advertising is beginning to be highly questioned, as new generations reject it. This situation is leading companies to seek other types of agreements that lead them to collaborate with the same goals or specific objectives. Agreements are essential for the development of health technology in sports, from which advances in health for the entire population come about, and also for computer experiments that can make the commerce and companies in an entire continent evolve -as is the case for FC Barcelona’s collaboration with the city’s Supercomputing Center and its digital twin project for stadiums and venues.

In the media, sports broadcasts are giving way to 3D reproductions, such as GVR that is already running in Mexico. It has been predicted that the development of the second-screen experience will be greatly enhanced in the coming years. Although the most important novelty presented has been the democratisation projects for both broadcasts and data analysis from video. Through Artificial Intelligence, there are plans underway to offer game recording systems of any level, on which data analysis can already be carried out. This facilitates the tools of the elite clubs not only to the lower divisions, but also to amateur sportsmen.

Data analysis is advancing towards formulas that evaluate the game and the interpretative categorisation of plays. These are tools for coaches, but above all for scouting. Thanks to these advances and the aforementioned democratisation of data, this profession will be able to start working with non-professional teams and, most importantly, with countries that until now had no access to advanced technology.

In the purely sporting side, the coaches who attended the congress said that there could be a ‘before and after’ from the time of Guardiola and the Spanish national team. These models were imitated because they were successful. In this new context, the figure of a new type of player has been defined: One not satisfied with obeying and integrating into a system, but demanding to know why decisions are made. Coaches are also being talked about as trainers of people.

Arsène Wenger predicted the emergence of a coach who will have functions like those of the director of a company, for the entire team of doctors, computer scientists and analysts who will be in charge, but who will continue to be hired by clubs as just another employee. He forecasts a future in which virtual reality will completely change training sessions, especially the analysis of matches that have been played, and also a tomorrow in which sports will exponentially increase their competitiveness with training, both theoretical and that facilitated by technology.

BIHUB Team

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