A World Class Sports Tech Strategy Requires a World Class Team
Technology has the ability to engage fans, generate revenue and create efficiencies in Sports and Entertainment venues and organizations. With advancements in Wi-fi, VR/AR, Data Analytics, Mobile solutions, blockchain etc. I.T as a cost centre is a value driver and growth centre. However, as the industry has shifted in scope so quickly, departments and resources have lagged behind still in the old cost centre model. The smart teams have resourced tech the way they resource Marketing, Corporate Partnerships, Ticketing etc and as a result have seen the benefits of a well executed tech strategy.
A strong sports CIO/CTO has a laser focused vision that generates revenue, engages fans and grows the business while advocating for the right team and resources to execute that vision.
A strong team is the most critical piece of a successfully executed tech strategy and the CIO creates the environment where there is an understanding that resources matter for tech as much as every other area of the organization.
3 sample tactics a sports tech leader can employ to create a team that is resourced and positioned for success.
Tie Strategy to Revenue
Effective revenue focused technology growth strategies are no more than 5 pages and in plain language for your audience(the business) to quickly understand and review often. A long technical strategy that gets put in a drawer is not an effective roadmap.
A few important points to address in a sports tech strategy that emphasizes the important role a high performing team plays in execution:
- Growing the fanbase
- Creating authentic assets for partners
- Engaging fans away from the venue
- Increasing per caps in venue(Ticketing, Merch, Food and Bev etc)
- Technology infrastructure needed to support goals(Wi-fi, DAS, Network, Edge devices, Data Tools, POS Etc)
- The human resources and department structure needed to support the strategy. Clearly defined structure and roles are a key to buy-in.
- KPI’s to measure success and identify when you need to pivot.
Articulate on a high level within a few pages, as a 40 page tech document will get shoved in a drawer never to be read or seen again.
Sit at the Table
Technology doesn’t live in a silo and best drives value as a business partner with a 360 view of operations. A CIO/CTO seat at the decision making table being the voice for tech is crucial in growth and supporting the overall business strategy. Sports organizations grow through a strong team that makes collaborative decisions. Marketing, CP, Ticketing initiatives are all bolstered with a strong technology voice that is involved with the decision and not consulted after decisions have been made. When tech exists in a bubble it is seen strictly as a support function vs a value generator.
Think Big but Win Quick
Transformative strategies take time to produce results but there are plenty of quick wins in the business that build confidence and demonstrate to the organization that tech delivers results.
Quick wins include:
- Venue Bandwidth Upgrades (Renegotiate Bandwidth contracts with providers or upgrade options)
- Find some inefficient operations that can be replaced quickly with a software package or even scripts (There is no lack of inefficient excel sheets being used in sports)
- Creating a digital asset that can be sold by the CP team (Wi-Fi Portal, computer security can be sponsored or even the bandwidth that you previously upgraded.
These are only a few examples to get your mind working. Speak with key members of the organization to look for pain points that haven’t been addressed. There will be opportunities for quick wins.
3 successful tactics designed to execute a transformative strategy with success built with proper resources that I’ve found successful in my career. The key is to show how a tech strategy will grow the organization and why a proper team is critical in executing with excellence.