Innovation in the sports industry is constantly evolving, with activity driven by digital advancements, high-level of social media interactions, broad appeal for immersive sports experience, and fan engagement, as well as the growing importance of technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, cloud, data analytics, wearable tech and many more. In the last three years alone, there have been over 48,000 patents filed and granted in the sports industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Sports: Game performance analytics Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

20+ innovations will shape the sports industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the sports industry using innovation intensity models built on over 101,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, portable dockable scoring machines, aural feedback type sporting equipment, and activity tracking camera network are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Adjustable weight putters, surf simulators, and polyurethane sports accessories are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are sport bats and sport rackets, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the sports industry

Game performance analytics is a key innovation area in sports

Identifying and communicating meaningful patterns for game decision-making is the process of game analytics. Game analytics metrics plays a major role in discovering trends, solving problems, making predictions, and enabling optimisation processes to support decision making. The major goal of analytics is to query and report business intelligence data to perform advanced analytics, such as statistical analytics, predictive modelling, optimisation, and forecasting.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 140+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established sports companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of game performance analytics.

Key players in game performance analytics – a disruptive innovation in the sports industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to game performance analytics

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 826 Unlock company profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 172 Unlock company profile
adidas 153 Unlock company profile
Extreme Networks 140 Unlock company profile
Peloton Interactive 110 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 92 Unlock company profile
Lagree Technologies 64 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 60 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 58 Unlock company profile
Lululemon Athletica 57 Unlock company profile
EW Healthcare Partners 54 Unlock company profile
Neofect 48 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 48 Unlock company profile
Apple 47 Unlock company profile
Golfzon (Japan) 46 Unlock company profile
LG 42 Unlock company profile
Icon Ip 42 Unlock company profile
Tonal Systems 39 Unlock company profile
Technogym 38 Unlock company profile
Polar Electro 38 Unlock company profile
Nautilus 37 Unlock company profile
Karsten Manufacturing 36 Unlock company profile
Technikka Conexion 31 Unlock company profile
AT&T 29 Unlock company profile
Wahoo Fitness 28 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 28 Unlock company profile
Dasan Rnd 28 Unlock company profile
Casio Computer 27 Unlock company profile
GyroGear 22 Unlock company profile
C. H. Boehringer Sohn 22 Unlock company profile
Nintendo 21 Unlock company profile
Fox Factory Holding 21 Unlock company profile
Isolynx 21 Unlock company profile
Omron 20 Unlock company profile
ROM Technologies 19 Unlock company profile
Wattbike 19 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 19 Unlock company profile
Garmin 19 Unlock company profile
Seiko Epson 19 Unlock company profile
K-Motion Interactive 18 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 18 Unlock company profile
Topgolf Callaway Brands 18 Unlock company profile
Whoop 18 Unlock company profile
MAD DOGG ATHLETICS 17 Unlock company profile
Hydrow 16 Unlock company profile
Interactive Strength 16 Unlock company profile
NuStep 16 Unlock company profile
Amer Sports 16 Unlock company profile
Intel 16 Unlock company profile
Catapult Group International 16 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

NIKEis one of the leading patent filers in game performance analytics. Some other key patent filers in game performance analytics industry include iFIT Health & Fitness, adidas, Extreme Networks, Peloton Interactive, and Koninklijke Philips.

In terms of application diversity, Whoop leads the pack, while Lululemon Athletica and Extreme Networksstand in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Dasan Rnd holds the top position, followed by Wattbike and Neofect.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the sports industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Innovation in Sports: Game performance analytics

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.