Blockchain, personalisation and machine-learning in the world of sport

12 May 2022 – Day 2 of SportsInnovation offered something that was not present at SportsInnovation 2018: an all-day conference programme in the stands of Düsseldorf’s MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA. Leading national and international speakers and panel discussion participants from various sports leagues and clubs, as well as from the worlds of business and media, took up the invitation to share their opinions and expectations for the future with the audience. The first content track: “Sports Performance and Technology”

Sports Performance and Technology” takes centre stage

Following a welcoming speech by Andreas Heyden, Executive Vice President Digital Innovations DFL Group, and the internationally renowned sports commentator Derek Rae, it was the turn of Shelly Palmer, CEO of The Palmer Group, to take the stage. His talk focused on the metaverse, with Palmer giving an overview of blockchains, the technology underpinning cyber currency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and also about the opportunities that can arise from digital property for fans and sports organisations in virtual worlds, which are becoming increasingly important as spaces for communication and interaction.

Shelly Palmer

Next on stage was Tony Page, President of Sport Experiences at Deltatre, a leading company in the field of sports media applications. In his talk, Page explored how the numerous cameras and sensors deployed at modern-day sporting events can be utilised even more effectively to provide more in-depth match data. Page recommended increasing the level of standardisation among the data acquisition systems installed in stadiums and further consolidating the acquired data to offer fans both inside the stadium and elsewhere an immersive and highly personalised experience.

To discuss the expectations of Generation Z, in particular the concept of future sporting experiences,  host Rae was joined on stage by Frank Bohmann, CEO of the LIQUI MOLY Handball Bundesliga (HBL), Dr Maximilian Schmidt, global lead of KINEXON’s sports and media division, and Steve Hellmuth, Executive Vice President of Media Operations & Technology for the NBA. Hellmuth noted that the acquisition of visual information will be more important than ever to win over Generation Z and that this thirst for information should ideally be met by a range of compact and informative data services. Bohmann stated that not only the athletes themselves but also fans among Generation Z could strongly benefit from the solutions developed by KINEXON, which provides detailed breakdowns of player performance.

The talk given by Luuk Figdor, Senior Sports Technology Advisor (EMEA) for Amazon Web Services (AWS), focused on machine-learning. He stated how, in the world of sport, more and more data is being recorded that harbours enormous informative potential. To gain valuable insights from this, adaptive algorithms are needed that can make independent and near-instantaneous decisions about how this data is used – as is the case with the Bundesliga Match Facts Powered by AWS, created together with the DFL. This is what AWS is focusing on and, as Robert Klein, CEO of Bundesliga International GmbH, confirmed in a discussion with Figdor, this development is crucial for shaping the fans’ experience.