As category partners of the Sport Industry Group Cutting Edge Sport award, PT SportSuite CEO Rich Cheary celebrates those companies who embraced innovation to make the shortlist – this week … Big Stadium Hockey
I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity these past few weeks to highlight the best of cutting edge sport as we head towards the Sport Industry Group Awards in September.
With PT SportSuite being a category sponsor, we wanted to play an active role in acknowledging those innovators within the industry who have pushed sport technology and the fan experience forward this past year. It has always been our mission to position PT SportSuite digital ecosystem as a unique differentiator for sports organisations of all kinds, and the efforts and achievements of the teams behind Catapult Vector, INEOS 1:59 Challenge, Rugby X, W Series and Extreme E provide us with plenty of motivation to continue on this journey.
Last but certainly not least on the list is Big Stadium Hockey – a winning concept that once again confirms what can be achieved when you pair a good idea together with true collaboration and commitment to putting the fan first.
Driven by England Hockey, and with the services and support of synthetic turf manufacturers Polytan, pitch design and consultancy firm STRI Group, sub-base providers Permavoid and the International Hockey Federation, Big Stadium Hockey is now truly possible via game-changing re-usable pitch technology that succeeds in taking the sport out of traditional hockey stadia and into larger “non-hockey” venues.
The synthetic pitch, which meets the highest environmental standards and can be installed in just a few days without damaging the underlying surface, transforms just about any stadia in the world into a potential venue for live hockey, allowing the sport to be played out in front of bigger crowds of spectators, increasing commercial opportunities, while enhancing the spectator experience via world-class sporting venues.
Having already seen significant success – England Hockey partnered with Harlequins to host fixtures at the Twickenham Stoop stadium, welcoming a record attendance of 12 039 fans for the UK – Big Stadium Hockey is ready for a global roll-out, potentially transforming the live hockey experience forever and securing the future growth of the game.
But it’s not just the fans who stand to benefit; the players themselves now have the opportunity to play in larger, iconic venues that would not have been possible previously.
England Hockey’s success with Big Stadium Hockey proves once again the critical importance of finding the right technology partners, who not only have the expertise to deliver effective solutions, but who will partner with you and share in your vision.
As I wrap up this series of columns, I’d like to leave you with this … it is often the case that new technology or ways of thinking meet resistance, but as in any industry, it’s just as important for traditional sports to learn to embrace innovation, especially in regard to their relationships with their biggest stakeholders, the fans.
Digital innovation and transformation isn’t just a decision, it’s a mindset shift towards embracement of technology in all aspects of the business in order to grow, and ultimately future proof your business in this constantly evolving digital sporting landscape.
Congrats to England and Great Britain Hockey and your partners for manufacturing the world’s first elite-level portable playing surface for hockey; and for allowing the sport to “break free”.