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Ignition 2023 preview: What to watch out for at the sports technology showcase

SportsPro looks ahead to the second edition of its annual event spotlighting the innovations and businesses driving the future of sport.

1 February 2023 Steve McCaskill
Ignition lead

Technology is the driving force behind sport’s latest evolution. Digital innovations are transforming how sport is managed, played and consumed, unlocking new opportunities, driving efficiencies, and increasing revenues.

Indeed, the digital transformation of sport is a megatrend that no one in the industry can afford to ignore. That’s why SportsPro created Ignition, a hub for the creative and tech-enabled disruptors driving the future of sports business.

As part of its ongoing commitment to sports technology, SportsPro will host the second annual Ignition virtual event on 8th February. There is a packed agenda of keynotes, tech demonstrations and case studies focusing on five key themes – in venue, media and consumption, fan engagement, data and analytics, and commerce. Speakers are confirmed from some of the biggest names in both sport and technology, including Major League Baseball (MLB), IBM, the Wimbledon tennis Grand Slam and more.

These sessions will look at some of the most pressing topics in technology, such as how non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other blockchain-related products can aid a wider Web 3.0 strategy, how essential functions such as ticketing can be made more efficient and fan friendly, and how big tech is supporting the sports industry with enterprise-grade tools.

There will also be insight into sports technology investment strategies, and why some sports organisations are commercialising technologies they made themselves for the whole industry.

Some of the highlights to watch out for include:

  • Chris Marinak, chief operations and strategy officer at Major League Baseball (MLB), will discuss the league’s digital innovation strategy, while Oscar Fernandez, vice president of technology solutions at the New York Mets, will talk about the investments the team has made to enhance the gameday experience at CitiField.
  • Meredith McPherron, the chief executive and managing partner for Drive by DraftKings, will discuss the fund’s approach to sports technology and its investment priorities.
  • Georgia Sapounas, senior director of digital products and innovation at the Cleveland Cavaliers, will talk about how the National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise is rewarding fans through NFTs.
  • IBM and Wimbledon will reflect on one of the most successful and high-profile sports technology partnerships in the industry, while looking ahead to this year’s Championships.
  • Timm Jäger, chief executive of EintrachtTech, will talk about how the technology division is helping Bundesliga soccer club Eintracht Frankfurt generate revenues that will aid the team’s on-field performance.

Alongside these sessions will be tech demonstrations from some of the most dynamic sports technology companies in the industry, as well as dedicated workshops designed to enhance your understanding of the latest developments in the field and learn about best practices.

During the event, we will also announce the shortlisted entries for the annual Ignition Innovation competition. The shortlisted early-stage companies will then be invited to pitch on stage during the SportsPro Live event in April, with the winner receiving a growth support package worth more than US$100,000. You can learn more about the competition and the esteemed panel of judges here.

More than 1,000 attendees have signed up for what is shaping up to be a fantastic day. But Ignition is more than just a single event. Register for free and you will gain access to the wider Ignition platform, which has access to an ecosystem of more than 300 tech directory listings and archive of additional content.

So join the future of sport at 1pm GMT on 8th February and register for free here.

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