Inside Track

CES 2022 Wrap-up: Top SportsTech Highlights

If there’s anything we’ve learned over the last two years of working on SportsTech, it’s that nothing is predictable.

Just when you think you’ve figured it out, an underdog comes from behind or a rookie steps up to accomplish the improbable. That’s what makes this business so thrilling—you cannot script it.

When we arrived at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, another unpredictable chapter of the pandemic was unfolding.

But, much like the inaugural cohort of our accelerator, we pressed on with the hopes of connecting with startups, founders, and those passionate about sports tech.

Here’s a look back at the highlights from CES 2022:

Our Panel Talks About Impact of Fan Engagement, Data, Predictive Analytics on Sports

From fan engagement to predictive analytics, today’s sports leaders are working on the hottest things in tech. A few of the top leaders at Comcast NBCU SportsTech, NBC Sports, GOLF, and Comcast Spectacor came together at CES to discuss how startups have brought game-changing innovations into their business.

These were some of the top moments from our panel:

Amanda Norvell, Vice President, Direct to Consumer Products & Services at NBC Sports Next explained how fan engagement is the key to the success of every team, league, and sports organization. In a post-pandemic landscape, sports tech can bring exciting developments and innovations that bring fans and sports closer together.

  • Gamification and betting is a bucket of fan engagement that is just exploding right now. In the United States, we are such a nascent betting market with the majority of bets taking place before the game. In more mature markets, like the U.K. and Australia, 80 percent of betting takes place in-game.
  • Whoop is a great example of visualizing data and information with fans. We can actually see a player’s heart rate at key, critical moments during the competition—live. It’s wild!
  • Now, imagine if you’re watching Chloe Kim in the half-pipe competition at the upcoming Beijing Olympics—in real-time—we can show you how high she’s flying? Or, how fast she’s spinning? There are some really exciting companies that are innovating in the player tracking space.

Jenna Kurath, Vice President of Startup Partnerships, Head of Comcast NBCU SportsTech highlighted the rise of predictive analytics on live broadcasts.

  • We’ve seen an explosion of startups since COVID-19 and I think the challenges of in-venue experiences early on accelerated their efforts. Valuable virtual experiences became table stakes instead of nice-to-haves.
  • nVenue brought their predictive analytics to a live broadcast integration for NBC Sports’ Pitch & Predict overlay and commentary during an Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox game.
  • GlobalM has a means for cost-effectively covering smaller sporting events like collegiate golf at the same high-quality production levels our fans expect.
  • Eon Media, a CES Top Innovation Award winner, uses AI to detect on-screen logos during televised sporting events and live streams allowing media companies and advertisers to generate accurate brand exposure data across an arena, athlete’s jersey, gear, graphic overlays, or commentator voice-over mentions.

Sam Ebb, VP, Business Strategy & Analytics at Philadelphia Flyers, Wells Fargo Center explained the many ways data points to bringing value to sports organizations.

  • Collecting data helps us better understand who our fans are, how they interact with us, and how we can meaningfully improve those interactions—whether through targeted promotions to subsets of fans, ensuring we get the right ticket offers to the right fans at the right time or delivering content featuring their favorite player.
  • Data helps us innovate. Entertainment venues have a unique challenge—we’re one location that has to serve and meet the experiential desires of a wide range of attendees, from ticket holders to Gen Zers.
  • Data helps deepen the fan experience, from looking at ways to integrate newly-available puck and player tracking data in the NHL into the fan experience or on-screen to gamify engagement between fans and partners, in-game.

Meeting Alumni at the C Space

James Kotecki interviewed a bunch of great talent that was featured at this year’s CES including many in the sports tech orbit.

Jenna Kurath, Comcast NBCU SportsTech
David Meltzer, Sports 1 Marketing
Ashish Agrawal, Eon Media

You can watch the replay of all the interviews on LinkedIn or on Facebook Watch.

Catching up With our Alumni

In addition to Ashish’s interview at the C Space Studio, we got a chance to see some of our alumni who took time out of their busy schedules to hang with us at CES and catch up on all the latest and greatest sports tech trends heading into 2022.

Jenna even got behind the wheel of our NASCAR simulator to turn in some record-breaking laps.

Brennan D’Souza, founder and CEO of DIBZ joined us and hung out at the booth while sharing updates to his LinkedIn community.

Until Next CES!

CES was a bit different this year but it was wonderful meeting lots of interesting people who are invested in changing the sports tech game. Thanks for being on this ride with us!

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