Cloud technology has been a powerful tool for organizations for improving operations and opening new streams of revenue, among other benefits. Like companies in the financial services sector or the communications sector, sports organizations around the world are reaping the benefits of cloud technology.
Cloud technologies are changing not just how sports organizations and staff operate, but also how fans interact with their favorite sports and teams. Fans no longer have to be in a stadium or arena to watch their favorite games as cloud-based streaming platforms, mobile apps and immersive augmented- and virtual-reality experiences are creating new ways to engage with your favorite teams.
Coaches and team managers are also using cloud-based data management and analysis tools to create their game plans and collect data on how to improve player performance and anticipate player injuries. Digital cloud transformation is becoming a priority for sports organizations as they use emerging technologies to create their own winning advantage and maintain pace in an increasingly tech-driven world.
Boosting the fan experience
According to the head of sports in the global professional-services division at Amazon Web Services, cloud services provide flexibility and scalability to innovate without the burden of costly capital expenditures.
AWS’ cloud technology powers Next Gen Stats for the NFL in the US, which tracks and shares real-time player stats on a viewers’ screen during games. Innovations like these help fans understand more clearly how the game is unfolding and how their favorite players are performing, especially as fans find new ways to engage with sports through sports gambling and fantasy sports.
Cloud is also being used to improve the fan experience at the stadium. The Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB) announced in February that it’s stadium, Truist Park, would work with Global Payments — a financial-tech company — to implement cloud-based payment solutions for ticketing, as well as dining and retail experiences at the ballpark. The partnership also extends to State Farm Arena, home to the Atlanta Hawks.
“When fans visit Truist Park, they expect fast, seamless transactions that allow them to get to their seats quickly and enjoy the game,” said Derek Schiller, President and CEO of the Atlanta Braves. “This new partnership with Global Payments will continue to elevate our fan experience and Truist Park’s status as a best-in-class ballpark.”
Improving strategies for coaches and players
Cloud-enabled digital strategies have become useful to both the sports teams coaching staff and the players alike. It offers an incredible amount of data that helps with performance analysis to improve safety and make player improvements.
Director of Data Analytics and AI at Google Cloud, Paola Olivari, told Business Insider that data stored in the cloud has helped coaches “understand every player’s performance and develop informed, tailored training programs to give them the best chance of success.”
As an example, Cricket Australia is utilizing data analytics to improve decision-making and performance behind the scenes and on the pitch.
“On and off-field data analytics is not just about numbers; it's about uncovering patterns, deep diving into statistics, gaining insights and making informed statistical decisions. We are leveraging data to unlock hidden potential, both on and off the field in cricket,” said Thomas Body, Performance Data Scientist at Cricket Australia.
Cloud can enable coaches to make quicker and more-informed decisions in real time and help store and track administrative information, like sports schedules and analytics tools to collect visual reports for performance data.
Cloud and sports organizations’ business functions
Sports organizations are continuing to look at new ways cloud technology can help them transform business operations and models, launch products and improve internal cultures.
The MLB’s Boston Red Sox franchise is utilizing cloud technology to improve the safety and management of Fenway Park in Boston. Senior Vice President and CTO for the Red Sox, Brian Shield, said that it has enabled the stadium to “expand access to surveillance video as well as other IoT content to allow us to better understand fan behavior, while ensuring a safe environment.”
Streaming services not only allow fans to experience their favorite teams in new and exciting ways, but they also can help organizations transform their business models and provide new revenue streams. Working with a cloud-based streamer can provide interactive and personalized content for fans, including prompts for sports betting and buying merchandise while they watch their favorite athletes. This can boost fan engagement and offer revenue streams through sales automation, data insights and advertising.
The data-driven future of sports
The future of sports and organizations for leagues around the world involves embracing technology and the impact of data analytics on their respective sports. Cricket Australia has embraced the future of digital technology by partnering with HCLTech to accelerate its digital transformation and orchestrate experiences to engage an ecosystem of fans, participants, volunteers, partners and elite players.
Cloud technology has enabled Cricket Australia to improve video analysis by progressing from simple VHS tapes to cloud-based platforms. This transformation is another instance of coaches being able to dissect player performances to improve play, review critical moments and scout opposing teams with more efficiency.
"In cricket, every decision counts and analytics helps us make the right ones—from analyzing pitch conditions, studying opposition weaknesses to even predicting game outcomes,” added Body.
The road ahead for sports organizations around the world is an exciting one and cloud-based technologies are critical to enhancing player performance, engaging fans and improving business decisions. While this transformation won’t happen overnight, progressively introducing use cases of cloud technology can pay off in the front office, as well as on the field, court or pitch.