Why digital transformation is vital for Australian football

Australian football should embrace digital transformation in order for it to succeed and grow into the future.

A simple definition of digital transformation is when businesses or organisations use digital technology to change the way that something is done.

Digital transformation in sport has a vast array of benefits, providing large opportunities for growth and enhancing fan experiences.

Australian football should be looking to provide constant connection with its fans, instead of just during the 90 minutes of a football game.

FAN EXPERIENCE & ENGAGEMENT

While the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League season did have a record amount of fan engagement with a 30% increase in digital followers and a 15% increase in engagements, there are plenty more opportunities to improve fan experience and engagement via digital transformation.

The FIFA 20 Hyundai A-League Tournament during the suspension of the A-League is a great example. It would be interesting to see a tournament like this played every year in the lead up to the season to attract younger fans and build some hype heading into the new campaign.

Social media allows for clubs to connect with fans easily, where press conferences could be live streamed or players could do Q&A’s on Facebook or Instagram Live.

There’s also opportunities at live events – digital activations at sporting events using data from the match can share information with fans at the game and at home.

The MLS and ESPN recently installed a big screen which nearly runs the length of the pitch at its recent ‘MLS is Back’ Tournament.

Tottenham Hotspurs’ new stadium is another example the digital transformation which Australian football should be looking to for inspiration.

The stadium features large video screens, wireless payment, has stadium wide connectivity with large amounts of Wi-Fi access points and has more bandwidth than any other stadium.

For NPL clubs, regular social media posting would allow the club to reach more Australian soccer fans. Branded content also allows clubs to provide more exposure to the sponsors. Clubs could also make money through these types of deals.

COVID-19

This becomes especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, where some clubs are struggling financially due to seasons being cancelled or less games being played. Branded content could provide clubs with some extra income.

Borussia Dortmund recently signed a partnership with Indian Premier League club Hyderabad FC. Dortmund will be helping to improve Hyderabad’s fan engagement, which will now have to be done in a different way.

“We can’t even think about fans in stadium right now, so it has to be done in a very organic way. We will be doing it through digital means first and soon as we can travel, we’ll have the Fan Liaison Officer to come over to India to give Hyderabad FC an understanding of how the whole phenomenon of the Dortmund fan culture exists. It’ll be a long-stretched process, but I’m positive we’ll get there one day,” Dortmund’s Managing Director for Asia-Pacific Suresh Letchmanan said.

As fans cannot be present at games in the large numbers they’re used to, the fan experience has to be rethought.

Melbourne Victory’s pre-game show ‘Victory TV’  is easily accessible for fans being streamed live on YouTube and Facebook. It provides an easy way for fans to stay engaged with their team during the pandemic.

InCrowd is a fan experience platform and services agency. InCrowd’s Head of partnerships for Australia and New Zealand, Seb Lear, spoke to Ministry of Sport about digital transformation.

“I think this transformation was inevitable and we were already seeing significant progress, but the pandemic has driven many rightsholders to bring their digital plans forward,” Lear said.

“It was Microsoft who said recently that 2 years’ worth of digital transformation had happened in 2 months, and I don’t think sport is any different.”

Mobile-only ticketing is another example of digital transformation that should be considered. This could track when people come into stadiums where they sit allowing for people to be easily identified if there are outbreaks at matches.

OTHER LEAGUES/ORGANISATIONS ARE DOING SO AND FINDING SUCCESS

Other sporting leagues and organisations around the world have embraced digital transformation and are finding success because of it.

“We will be watching this sports content battle closely over the coming year, as well as the success/engagement from the Facebook MLB endeavour, as it could be a sign of things to come with streaming platforms playing a bigger role in global professional sports broadcasting rights in the years ahead and potentially shaking up this market, while adding a major notch on the content belts of Amazon, Facebook and other new tech entrants to this arena,” Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights, told CNBC in March 2018.

This has now happened, the sports media landscape has changed and while it is still an option it is no longer absolutely necessary to go through the traditional media organisations.

The sports industry and technology has moved to allow for clubs and organisations to provide direct channels of content straight to consumers.

In the recent FFA online surveys on the XI principles, 72% people believed that the FFA/the leagues should create an on demand/live streaming football platform.

Having all Australian football available in one place would accessing content very easy for consumers.

At a time when A-League clubs are lacking free to air exposure and wanting to reach more fans free live streaming could also be an option.

The A-League in particular should look at having some games being broadcast on a service such as Twitch.

FFA CEO James Johnson recently spoke to NewsCorp about the future of the game.

“I didn’t come back here just to administer the sport. What was interesting to me was really transforming it,” Johnson said.

Transformation is on the horizon and the digital side of it cannot be forgotten.

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Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Dallmeier: Mitigating the risk involved in anti-social fan behaviour

Football fan behaviour can on occasion be detrimental in the progression of the sport across the globe.

Although a celebrated part of the game – when loyalty, passion and individual personalities are animated – the potential for something unsavoury to occur, becomes imminent.

Globally, a key element of the sport is its tribalistic nature. Football fans possess the tendencies of becoming relentless within their support for a club.

The comparison of two large contingents of football fans coming together, with their respective teams battling it out for supremacy, is reminiscent of a crusade.

In acknowledgement of fan behaviours, governing bodies must exercise adequate security throughout stadiums in order to prevent the slim although present opportunity for disorderly behaviour occurring.

Dallmeier

Dallmeier are a German based technology company in whom have become specialists in comprehensive security services.

Derived from the use of video technology the German entity have built quite the portfolio upon completion of football related security within the company’s tenure.

The company boast eight varying security solutions for stadiums. All crafted with the intention of making stadiums safer through the minimization of fan misconduct.

Since 1984, Dallmeier have been experts upon the field of video technology. Optimal within their services, the company provides security logistically and industrially.

Furthermore, their services extend to airports casinos cities, and finally stadiums.

Security Hardware Variety – Panomera Camera 

The use of Dallmeier’s most innovative and decorated product has primarily featured within football stadium security.

Panomera cameras are the combination of several megapixel cameras all forged into one efficient device.

Allowing users to capture larger areas and long distances of space. Providing what a series of cameras would reduce in one efficient device.

The Panomera Camera maintains the highest quality of imagery, allowing in the improved identification of potential perpetrators.

Stadium Security Measures – Dispatch Management 

Dispatch management and allows for the identification and background search of personnel who identify as a threat to the public, to be adequately dealt with by security or police officials.

Providing a real time understanding of the stadiums environment.

Capturing incident data in the form of videos, photos and witness statements all for those who commit an antisocial act at a football match.

Putting emphasis upon the punishment of perpetrators, with the video capturing evidence that can be guided into the hands of law enforcement.

Stadium Security Measures – Entrance Area 

The entrance area aspect of Dallmeiers stadium security allows for the identification of fans looking to cause issues prior to their entry into the stadium.

As a result of optimal security installation upon sport stadiums around the globe, the participation of football upon all aspects can flourish.

While the tribalism and passion all synonymous with football fans, it is an area of the sport that can have a ripple effect upon it causing disruptions to matches and detriment of fan involvement.

Additionally, anti-social fan misconduct can have a negative connotation upon a sport well-respected.

What impact it can have in Australia?

As a result, events can transpire culminating in what should be a celebrated aspect of the sport, becoming its kryptonite.

It was only 14 months ago where in our backyard, an unsavoury event transpired between rival crowds, leaving a stain upon football in Australia.

At the time, it had somewhat derailed a hype train football in Australia was experiencing. Given the Socceroo’s had successfully qualified for the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup.

The aftermath of such a monumental achievement was tarnished due to fan misconduct.

Company’s in the same class as Dallmeier, allow for the sport to be participated while an emphasis can be put upon the players taking to the pitch.

It is imperative that fan safety is held at the highest responsibility. The raw element of fan behaviour should not be eradicated, but has all the potential to be mitigated, exposing the raw fan element in a positive light with the improved security and emphasis on safety.

Orreco.AI: Transforming the way athletes recover and perform

Orreco.AI is a new AI technology tool that aims to help advance athlete training, athlete performance and management of injuries in sport.

This innovation in data collecting technology has one goal – to give athletes the power to control and better their performance using a range of data points never seen before in the industry.

Led by CEO and Sports Scientist Dr Brian Moore, Orreco has had a plan since 2010 to innovate sport by leveraging technology to better athletes’ performance and management.

Since its inception, Orreco has lead research findings and released new, updated technologies to fine tune the accuracy of the data they show to athletes.

They released the app ‘@thlete’, which is a data and content platform for athletes that synthesises a range of data to help athletes better their sleep, wellness, preparation and recovery.

Orreco’s Recovery Lab is the precursor to Orreco.AI, with it being a similar concept that integrates data and metrics to improve wellbeing.

Orreco also released a pioneering free app called FitrWoman which is a leader in supporting women athletes during their menstrual cycle by providing education, training and nutritional support.

Orreco is fast tracking the Orreco.AI technology that is the first of its kind. The technology gives teams player pages with basic statistics such as distance covered, top speed and performance stats but also is providing coaches with an in-depth analysis on their fitness by using blood biomarkers to accurately pick up the data.

Minute-by-minute post-game injury scores and injury signals that give coaches a head start on protecting and managing their players.

Orreco.AI aims to also improve efficiency for athlete performance coaches through voice and text prompt interactions.

Orreco have harnessed three pivotal waves of AI – advancements in computing, cloud storage, and generative AI.

Their objective is to provide differentiated, actionable data that can help athletes transform their game.

Orreco’s AI suite is at the forefront, complete high performance platform converting vast amounts of data into actionable insights. Here’s how:

AI Charting:

AI charting allows direct interaction with your data through intuitive voice commands. For example, you might ask, “Please show me Peter Brand’s inflammation levels as a line graph.” Instantly, crucial insights are displayed, enabling faster, more informed decisions to optimise athlete performance.

AI Action Models:

Our AI Action Models can provide comprehensive overviews of any dataset with simple voice commands. For instance, “Show me athletes of concern and why,”  immediate evidence based answers, securely delivered as your data never leaves the platform. This functionality ensures proactive management of player health and performance.

TRAIN:

The TRAIN module predicts training loads based on historical GPS data, creating sessions tailored to specific criteria — sets, reps, pitch size, and duration. Adjustments can be made in real-time, offering dynamic feedback. This efficiency not only saves time but also enhances training strategies.

AI Injury Risk Modelling:

Motion Signal delivers post-game injury risk scores by identifying deviations from normal movement patterns. This advanced warning system helps prevent injuries such as hamstring strains. As in-game data becomes available, real-time injury risk scoring will further enhance preventive measures.

Orreco’s mission with this particular technology is to empower teams and players to reach its peak performance, maintain health and extend careers.

There has never been a higher demand for athletes than in the current sports landscape. More games being played, more minutes on the pitch, more travel, and an increase in high intensity training has led to the increase of a risk of injury, shortened careers and poorer performances on gameday.

This AI technology innovation highlights a shift in how professional sporting clubs and athletes are viewing the current situation and willing to do what they can to mitigate the potential soft-tissue injuries that arise.

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