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 Virtual Reality in Sports: Virtual sport training devices.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 101,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the sports industry, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Virtual sport training devices is a key innovation area in virtual reality

Utilising virtual reality (VR) for athletic training offers athletes the opportunity to refine their skillset no matter where they are. This innovative environment allows them to practice in the most authentic setting possible, thus providing them with the necessary tools to perform to the best of their ability when it counts. Athletes can develop and perfect their skills using virtual sports training devices, without the risk of getting hurt.

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 100+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established sports companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of virtual sport training devices.

Key players in virtual sport training devices – 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 virtual sport training devices

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 498 Unlock company profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 141 Unlock company profile
Peloton Interactive 111 Unlock company profile
adidas 100 Unlock company profile
Neofect 57 Unlock company profile
Lululemon Athletica 56 Unlock company profile
Karsten Manufacturing 50 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 47 Unlock company profile
May Patents 43 Unlock company profile
Golfzon (Japan) 43 Unlock company profile
LG 42 Unlock company profile
Icon Ip 38 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 34 Unlock company profile
Technikka Conexion 31 Unlock company profile
Technogym 30 Unlock company profile
ROM Technologies 28 Unlock company profile
Isolynx 28 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 26 Unlock company profile
Apple 26 Unlock company profile
EW Healthcare Partners 25 Unlock company profile
Nautilus 23 Unlock company profile
Polar Electro 22 Unlock company profile
Amer Sports 22 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 22 Unlock company profile
Nintendo 21 Unlock company profile
Intel 21 Unlock company profile
Biomech Sensor 19 Unlock company profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 18 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 17 Unlock company profile
Artemis 17 Unlock company profile
TOCA Football 16 Unlock company profile
Interactive Strength 16 Unlock company profile
GroupOne Services 16 Unlock company profile
AlterG 16 Unlock company profile
Continuous Composites 16 Unlock company profile
InfoMotion Sports Technologies 16 Unlock company profile
Tonal Systems 14 Unlock company profile
Skyhawke Technologies 13 Unlock company profile
World Golf Systems 13 Unlock company profile
AT&T 13 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 12 Unlock company profile
Berkshire Hathaway 12 Unlock company profile
Teijin 12 Unlock company profile
F45 Training 12 Unlock company profile
MAD DOGG ATHLETICS 12 Unlock company profile
Force Impact Technologies 11 Unlock company profile
TritonWear 11 Unlock company profile
ICAROS 11 Unlock company profile
Arena Innovation 10 Unlock company profile
Connexa Sports Technologies 10 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nike is one of the leading patent filers in virtual sports training devices. Some other key patent filers in the virtual sport training devices space include iFIT Health & Fitness, Peloton Interactive, adidas, Neofect, and Lululemon Athletica. Nike has the largest market share when compared to any other sports equipment company and is continually coming up with new trends and inventions in the area of new virtual training tools for athlete performance enhancement. 

In terms of application diversity, Alphabet leads the pack. Force Impact Technologies and Lululemon Athletica stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Neofect holds the top position, followed by World Golf Systems and Teijin 

Virtual sports training or simulated sports training typically utilises 3D images to imitate genuine situations, offering an immersive experience for athletes. Many of these programmes also incorporate virtual reality technology. At the point when one enters a virtual reality setting for training, one ends up submerged in the re-enactment and can acquire practical experience rehearsing specific aptitudes, giving an authentic condition, rehearsing any place, readily available, filling in preparing holes and diminishing preparing effect. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the sports industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sports.

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.