The global sports technology market is valued at US $ 17.9 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach a CAGR of 17.5 between 2021 and 2026, reaching US $40.2 billion by 2026. The market growth can be considered a result of Data-driven decision-making and operations, increased audience engagement, and an increase in online and offline sporting events.
In recent years, professional sports organizations have adopted new technologies such as sports data analytics, smart stadiums, wearable devices, and digital signage to improve team performance, attract fans and deploy intelligent infrastructure. Smart stadiums have become one of the world’s top trends, with more and more sporting events taking place around the world. Innovations in smart stadiums are driving the execution of multiple projects around the world.
Technology is now being incorporated into sporting events as well. This isn’t any more obvious than using the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. With an estimated 3.4 billion people, about half of the world’s population, this tournament represents the largest mass adoption of sports technology to date.
The VAR system used in the tournament was technically relatively simple. The system used a video control room that could communicate with referees on the field if play needed to be reviewed and could be capsized. VAR is only the first step in a sports company’s digital journey, as there is a great deal of market interest from companies that collect and use more data within the sports industry.
New technologies such as big data analytics, cloud services, AI, wearables, and drones are just a few of the key technologies’ sports organizations are adopting when utilizing the Internet of Things. Ultimately, sports technology will make gameplay safer, more equitable, and potentially more profitable. And these goals are transforming the industry. Sports Tech solutions are suitable not only for athletes and coaches but also for fans. The new technology provides a more immersive and rich entertainment experience.
The focus on viewer involvement and entertainment activities, coupled with the digital transformation of the stadium, is expected to increase the demand for technology-enabled services in the sports arena. The industry is experiencing a paradigm shift, including increased investment by various organizations to monitor player performance and adopt the latest technologies to attract fans.
Israel also has a thriving network of sports technology innovators. This is unexpected given the small domestic sports environment. With the increasing consumption of digital sports around the world and breakthroughs in AI, Israel’s technology sector is building a new value chain focused on real-time content automation, video personalization, and user experience monetization. I am seizing the opportunity to do it.
Today, Israel’s start-up sector has more than 600 sports-related tech start-ups, 220 of which are directly related to the sports industry.
Few of the innovative sports tech companies include:
1. WSC Sports
WSC Sports Technologies provides automated video highlights creating technology for sports broadcasters and media-right owners, from ingestion of live content to distribution of automatically created short-form videos tailor-made, customized, and personalized for analytics.
WSC sports video technologies analyze sports broadcasts in realtime, identify every component in a game, and generate customized highlights of every player, team, and moment. WSC Sports` video creation platform scans sports broadcasts in realtime and identifies each event that occurs in a given game. From this, it generates shareable shortform videos that can be easily distributed through various online channels. The company clients include the National Basketball Association (NBA), which signed a multiyear deal with WSC Sports back in December.
Track160 works on is an automated videobased sports analytics tool that tracks players` team colors, jersey numbers, and textures, and distinctive player movements to deliver game insights using computer vision technology. Track160 saw the gap between coaches and players and developed technologies to save everyone’s time and reduce stress.
Track160 cameras can be strategically placed across the event (field or court) to collect video data from multiple perspective points. The acquired data is then evaluated with AI and deep learning to determine the most significant plays, which are then added to a teamshared video gallery.
Playform is a provider of an app and video-based training solutions for soccer. The offerings of the company include mental tests, physical solutions, technical solutions, & more. Other features include measures (users can use a smartphone and get the score), ranking (users can monitor to the competitive), etc. It also offers other services such as real-time feedback, statistics, etc.
Pixellot develops AI based automatic sports production solutions for the amateur and semi-professional market. The company`s technology streamlines the production workflow by deploying an unmanned multicamera system that covers the entire field and follows the action automatically.
Utilizing cloud based artificial intelligence to analyze high-quality video, Pixellot enables sports teams, leagues, and educational institutions to broadcast sporting events that would otherwise not receive coverage due to the costs associated with professional broadcast equipment and workflow.
In addition, sports fans can enjoy real-time commentary and graphics, highlights, and team and individual stats on their video feed, similar to a professional broadcast. The company streams more than 30,000 live video hours each month to fans, players, and coaches on a variety of platforms.
BlazePod unique Flash Reflex training system that combines physical workouts with cognitive reaction training to ensure exciting and creative sessions that engage clients, offer realtime tracking analytics to improve a wide range of fitness goals. It is comprised of four lightup pods.
BlazePod has quite a roster of users, such as the Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball team, Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen, Brazilian soccer player Roberto Firmino, and the IDF.
Tool for collecting user-generated social content for brand promotion and fan engagement.
Pico Buzz provides sports marketing solutions for fan and brand engagement. It builds a tool for collecting user-generated content across social media platforms. These tools automatically collect the content that brand followers are sharing. It is then aggregated, tagged, and uploaded across the brand’s social media platforms for brand promotion. It also builds up the user profile of the followers of the brand and recommends the necessary action for building further engagement.
WizeCare, founded in 2012, offers at home telerehabilitation. On the patient side, all one has to do is download the mobile or desktop app, book an appointment, and show up. Behind the scenes of an appointment, WizeCare watches the patient through their camera and applies AI to monitor the patients’ skeletal movements to provide them with feedback, ensuring they follow the clinician’s directions. They address orthopedic, neurological, and cardiac conditions. Now, starting the road to recovery is just a few movements away.
Funatix`s flagship product, Real Manager, provides fans with a way to compete in their fantasy leagues, game online, and engage with social networks of fans to feel connected to likeminded people worldwide. Funatix, headquartered in Be’er Sheva, also has a base in Mexico and a significant focus in the soccer market.
They are employed in official football leagues such as the Ukrainian Premier League, Super League Greece, Rigamax and the Israeli Premier League (IPFL).
The Israeli start-up scene shows advanced engineering, powerful video capture and data storage capabilities, and excellent production and broadcasting.
For more information, please contact Johannesburg@israeltrade.gov.il, S Israeli Trade and Economic Mission, South Africa.