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
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
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