Brief: SportsTech Research and Insights Update

Event Technology: Market to grow to $6.56B this year -- Venues and Events: Stadiums relying more on AI and robotics -- Enterprise Tech: 84% of IT executives say the employee experience is critical

Aug. 19, 2022 — This report provides insights into developments in three areas for Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech: (1) Event Technology; (2) Venue Tech and Fan Experience; and, (3) Enterprise Technology. 

1. Event Technology

Sports organizations must make full use of event technology, which includes digital tools that help the organization plan and produce an event such as event management software, fan engagement apps, virtual platforms, streaming services, and mobile event solutions. 

Post-pandemic, event technology platforms are expanding faster than ever. More than 90% of event professionals and planners believe that technology has a major positive impact on the success of an event, and 97% believe that hybrid events – those with both physical and virtual elements to them – will predominate events in the future. 

Indeed the rise in hosting hybrid events is contributing substantially to growth in the event management software global market, according to an Aug. 2 report by The Business Research Company. The global event management software market share is expected to grow from $5.78B in 2021 to $6.56B in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4%. The market is forecast to grow to $11.75B in 2026, a CAGR of 15.7%. 

Another key development: the rapid integration of AI also is bringing ease and affordability to the event management software market. Mobile and website AI applications are changing the way organizations plan and book events. 

2. Venue Tech and Fan Experience

In venue tech, experience is everything. Venue Tech and Fan Experience, two of the eight investment categories of the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech accelerator, are poised for continued growth in 2022 and into 2023. Transformative advances in venue tech are helping sports organizations address issues related to ticketing, security, admissions, retail and concessions, ease of access, and extending the fan experience beyond the building. 

Attending a live sport event is no longer about sightlines and seat widths, but more about moving to a new model where a stadium or arena is a technological and commercial platform. Recent research by Deloitte posits three layers of venue technology “stack.” 

  • the experience layer provides fans and event-goers a blend of experiences by the team/sports organization and by third parties; 
  • the enabling technology level includes tools, protocols and data that give fans, partners and sponsors access to core infrastructure; and, 
  • The technology infrastructure level provides a team-owned set of physical hardware, networking equipment, and software that power the arena, safeguard security, and ensure continuity of experience. 

Venues of the future will rely on 5G (and greater) connectivity, robotics/AI, and VR/AR technologies to extend to fans personal experiences – even if they are sitting at home – while still providing a “community” feel. Chatbots will answer fans’ questions. AI will cue autonomous motors to cut the grass. Teams and leagues are using arena digital twins to address crowd needs, solve problems, and allow customers to pay virtual visits to the home of their favorite teams.

3. Enterprise Technology

Developments driving enterprise technology, defined as software that aims to improve an entire enterprise’s productivity and efficiency by building business logic support functionality, have also been fueled recently by robust growth borne by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

EY has identified seven key enterprise trends to watch in 2022 (see full report here), including developments relating to the metaverse, blockchain, hybrid work, and cloud migration. Major brands are adopting elements of the metaverse to create new business and monetization models, along with new avenues for customer engagement. Singular blockchains will become less relevant and distributed ledgers will grow significantly in the next three to five years, introducing opportunities for businesses beyond cryptocurrency. 

The implementation of zero trust security principles, the concept that trust is explicitly verified regardless of network location, is expanding, bringing organizations a greater level of cybersecurity and resilience.

A strong focus on customer experience also leads the charge of enterprise technology trends at present. In an age when omnichannel experiences have raised the bar for the customer journey, offering a “good” customer experience is not enough. Customers now expect engagement across touchpoints, 24/7 customer service, robust security, and identity management. In response, 77% of IT leaders say they are increasing their investment in customer experience in 2022. 

Other noteworthy ET  trends:

  • 84% of IT leaders say that improving employee technology is crucial, according to a report by Salesforce EMEA. But only 21% of them say their current technology maximizes employee engagement and only 25% say that it maximizes productivity. 
  • A severe shortage of developers means that the “innovation pipeline” is clogged with uncompleted projects. In fact, 72% of IT leaders say that project backlogs are preventing them from completing strategic projects.
  • An unsurprising 99% of IT leaders believe that businesses must be mobile-enabled to survive – but only 44% say that mobile technology is a high priority in their organization. 
  • Businesses need to address this problem quickly – a whopping 74% of business leaders predict that a lack of mobile access to data, apps, and content will slow productivity in 2025.


Tripp Baltz
Head of Research