This is the era of technology, and tools such as data analysis, digital mapping, machine intelligence and immersive viewing are spilling over into the field of sports and sports management. Technology companies are becoming preferred partners for sports federations not only in India but across the world.
Companies use analytics and artificial intelligence tools to help teams, viewers and partners improve the overall experience of their favorite sports. Using these technology-laden solutions, teams and federations can monitor player fitness and sporting activities, improve player performance and manage audience engagement.
With added pressure on technology during the coronavirus pandemic, the trend has just become more popular and fueled a number of sports tech startups. Even big IT companies have jumped on the bandwagon and bagged big deals like Manchester United, the Association of Tennis Professionals and the BCCI.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), a few days before the ICC World Cup 2019 has signed an agreement with Stats Sports, a performance company based in Northern Ireland, to use their GPS-based performance tracking and analysis. The deal helped them monitor player speed, acceleration, high-speed running, declaration and even dynamic stress loading with the help of a high-resolution unit built into the base layers of players’ vests.
Even FIFA uses a high-tech ball with a ball tracking mechanism combined with an optical tracking tool. This technology is designed by KINEXON and is supported by suspension technology provided by Adidas. FIFA has also installed 12 optical cameras from Hawk-Eye for better tracking.
In this article, we will focus on the major Indian IT firms that have signed some big deals.
Infosys jumped on this trend earlier in 2015 when it partnered with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the governing body of the men’s professional tennis circuit. Infosys continues to be ATP’s Global Technology Services Partner and Digital Innovation Partner as their contract has been extended until 2023.
Infosys uses its next-generation technology to reimagine data and deliver insights and unique digital experiences. The company has been supporting ATP’s digital assets and infrastructure development for seven years, which includes ATP PlayerZone, ATP Stats Leaderboard, ATP Second Screen and ATP App.
Infosys manages the data analytics and statistics of all ATP matches on the tour, which can also be accessed by fans. In addition to watching matches, fans can add statistical insights to over 60 ATP tours each season through the intuitive and immersive intuitive interface on ATPTour.com.
Infosys also became the title sponsor of the Hall of Fame Open (HFO) men’s tennis tournament held in July this year and the official digital partner of the International Hall of Fame. As part of its tie-up with the ITHF, the tech giant will help digitize the tennis warehouse and improve the fans’ experience while watching a match.
This year, it also provided a series of 3D, VR and AI experiences at the Grand Slam, where fans were given the opportunity to experience the evolution of rackets in tournaments through an immersive 3D exhibition. During the 2021 Australian Open, Infosys also used Hawkeye data to animate footage, giving fans the chance to experience it as if they were in the stadium watching the match. The company has also become the preferred technology partner of the French Open.
The TCS World 10K in Bengaluru was a flagship event for the company and the runners included nearly 20,000 runners from across the country as well as some international runners.
Tata Consultancy Services announced in 2021 that it would spend over $320 million on marathon sponsorships over the next eight years. They have had a total of 11 running sponsorships, including the TCS London Marathon, the TCS New York City Marathon and the Waterfront Marathon.
In October this year, they launched a new app for the TCS New York City Marathon that streamed the match live and used a second screen feature that will enhance broadcast coverage. The app also allowed viewers to track elapsed time, runner’s pace and check out live streams of their favorite runners.
TCS New York City Marathon App | TCS New York City Marathon
Even in Bengaluru they had an app that connected over 19,000 participants with features like runner tracking, race information, virtual running, social media sharing and more. Their technology not only helps runners track their performance, but also helps improve the fan experience.
TCS has also partnered for F1 races and IPL matches.
Tech Mahindra has become the first corporate organization to participate in the FIDE Chess Olympiad in June 2022 and become a digital partner. The IT major helped improve the fan experience through solutions like “Fan Nkt” that offered hyper-personalized data-driven fan experiences through artificial intelligence, augmented reality and other technologies.
The partnership between FIDE and Tech Mahindra also aimed to explore innovative ways of promoting the game through interactive technology-enabled platforms. The company said at the time that it would partner with the FIDE Women’s World Cup and the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix.
In 2018, Tech Mahindra announced a four-year partnership with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a US-based football team. The company uses artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to offer fans a great digital experience.
In 2020, it also announced its partnership with Kings KSI Punjab to help teams better engage with fans digitally. In 2014, the company also helped the FIFA World Cup play without errors.
Hindustan Computers Limited has launched the HCL Squash Podium Program 2019 to help strengthen the squash ecosystem in the country. They also organized high performance camps that used sports science to create performance reports and then offered customized guidance to each player.
The HCL program will also improve the standards of coaches and also offer training to referees. In the past, the tech giant has also partnered with SRFI for the HCL Junior Squash Tournament and the HCL Senior National Squash Championship in 2017 and 2018.
HCL also signed a three-year deal with Manchester United in 2015 to handle the club’s technical operations. HCL was to create an innovation lab at Old Trafford that would showcase innovation in digital technology.
In 2018, Genpact partnered with the Formula E Championship, which is the first racing event in the world with fully electric cars. The company used artificial intelligence to analyze massive amounts of data to track racing performance, which helped teams identify issues and efficiencies and also unlock new racing strategies.
In 2021, the company and Envision Virgin Racing created a life-size replica of the team’s seven-ton racing car in front of London’s iconic Tower Bridge.
Many companies want to sponsor sports events because they offer a new market and improve the visibility of their brand. In addition, it also helps them enter a new sector and use their technology to improve the sport, not only for the team but also for the fans.
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