The Sport Industry Awards 2021 saw the industry’s biggest night of the year return to Evolution London in September, marking the 20th anniversary of the event.
For the second year running, PT SportSuite took its place as sponsor of the the Cutting Edge Award – a category that celebrates the gamechangers – those who’ve gone beyond themselves, broken new boundaries, thought differently or brought in new ideas or tech.
The lockdown period and forced absence of fans in stadiums has really shined a light on the at-home fan experience, and the nature of entries this year showed there has been a renewed focus on growing digital fan communities across all levels of sport through some really exciting technology and engagement opportunities for the at-home fan.
“There’s no doubt the industry has suffered hardships in the face of the pandemic,” said PT SportSuite CEO Rich Cheary. “But in the face of all these challenges, the innovation on display in this category reassures us that the industry will not only survive – but come back even stronger, with a renewed focus on digital acceleration that powers genuine fan connections and commercialisation opportunities.
“In a decade’s time we will look back at this period as the catalyst for a technology boom that closes the gap between the live viewing experience and the remote experience – where 99% of fan bases watch and want to engage.”
Read on to learn more about the worthy nominees for the 2021 Cutting Edge Sport award and congratulations to Super League Triathlon for taking home the win!
Super League Triathlon – SLT Arena Games
With Covid-19 wiping out the vast majority of the 2020 triathlon race calendar, Super League came up with an innovative new concept – the SLT Arena Games – to get athletes back racing again in a Covid secure environment while bringing a new audience to the sport by harnessing technology to produce a unique format.
The event provided a first-ever mix of in real life and virtual racing featuring the world’s top triathletes and delivered a new level of immersive viewing experience. It also added a fresh element to the sport, with live data and ‘in-your-face’ cameras, and crucially exceeded all targets in terms of viewership, digital metrics and audience engagement.
BT Sport – Matchday Experience
With fans unable to attend stadia, Matchday Experience on the BT Sport App fused the latest developments in mobile devices and network speeds alongside pioneering technology to get customers closer to the action than any other provider in the UK.
The launch joined two other landmark UK firsts from BT Sport in 2020. In November, in a world first, BT Sport launched live streamed sport with Dolby Atmos on the BT Sport App. And in February, BT Sport screened the UK’s first public live 8K sports broadcast, with a screening of the UEFA Europa League match between Arsenal and Olympiacos.
Joymo – Live Streaming for Grassroots Sport
Joymo is the direct-to-consumer OTT media platform. Joymo enables those involved in sport participation to live stream their valuable content and sell access to fans around the globe.
With Joymo, content creators can utilise the camera on their mobile device to stream live or on-demand to a global audience via the Joymo Share app or integrate their own existing content capture solutions through Joymo Connect.
Joymo has also developed a fully-secure video platform with built-in features to make it easier for the Channel Owners to safeguard their athletes and allow content creators to manage data in a safe, secure and compliant way.
Nurvv – Nurvv Run
Nurvv Run is a British tech start up founded by entrepreneurs Jason Roberts and Ulrica Roberts in 2016. The company is dedicated to pioneering and championing the latest advances in technology and biomechanics to help runners run faster, further, safer and to find their true potential.
The company’s first product, a piece of cutting-edge wearable technology, that took four years to develop, is already making waves within the global running community. It comprises a high-tech insole that fits within a runner’s existing running shoes and provides a huge amount of accurate, insightful data back to the runner via a dedicated specialist coaching app.
EFL – iFollow
Since June 2020 the EFL has successfully streamed over 850 matches to over 3.5-million people. Without the iFollow platform and with all matches taking place behind closed doors, supporters would have simply been unable to stay connected to their club and watch their team.
In a short space of time the league has had to upscale its operation, with responsibility for infrastructure, ticketing and marketing resource – in turn protecting an estimated £32-million of clubs’ season ticket revenue, protecting commercial deals and generating much-needed income at a financially challenging time.