It’s easy to get distracted by the promise of emerging technologies such as the metaverse, AI and blockchain. For most sports organizations, leveraging existing, proven technology solutions may be the fastest path to revenue and desired business outcomes.
In sports and media organizations, the individual in charge of digital technology is often responsible for “owned and operated” (O&O) tech stacks, which traditionally focused on how the organization made money through media rights, sponsorship and advertising via web sites and mobile applications.
Over the past ten years, these digital teams have needed to evolve to manage dozens of technologies and vendor relationships, including content and video management, streaming platforms, subscription and identity management, ad tech, CDN, edge computing, mobile applications, back-end technologies and services, loyalty programs, fantasy and much more.
With such a complex stack of technologies, the focus for digital executives has largely been around how they can effectively scale their platforms and maintain stability, while keeping up with the rate of technology advancement.
There are many solutions that make O&O platforms operate efficiently. We list out some of the core technologies needed for any sports and media organization below.
Multi-Region Scalable Fault-Tolerant Infrastructure
Implementing systems that automatically detect and recover from failures, doing so as the infrastructure grows, and distributes data and content everywhere all at once.
Modern Content Management System (Headless / Hybrid)
Modern CMS offerings address the need of delivering content to different types of devices by utilizing a Headless or Hybrid approach, while supporting enterprise needs to provide multi-language, multi-site, security and AB Testing, among many other features.
Game Consoles / Smart TV Applications
The ability to deliver media and content beyond websites and native mobile applications is key to meeting fans where they are. Having the right velocity and flexibility in your tech stack makes it easier to stand up experiences across channels like Smart TVs.
Ad-Delivery (Video and Display)
Systems that facilitate the delivery of advertisements to a platform and determine where, when and to whom ads are shown.
Digital Asset Management / Media Asset Management
DAM / MAMs allow for the centralized management of content with the ability to collaboratively edit and tag videos, images and graphics.
Cloud-based online video platforms allow for the publication and distribution of live and on-demand videos.
User Management / Single Sign On
Allow users to register and sign-in using social media logins as well as phone number and email addresses. Security of logins should be outsourced to companies that specialize in that and should rarely be home-grown.
Implementation of payment processing capabilities to enable financial transactions between various services and vendors (including ticketing, subscription products, and merchandise).
In Venue Tech
Technologies that facilitate interactions and improve the fan experience at the stadium. These interactions should be captured and tied back to the central database that records all fan interactions outside of the stadium.
Content Analytics and Automation
It is important to empower editors with analytics that provide insights on what content resonates with their audiences, while utilizing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to assist in content creation and ensuring SEO.
With the right data and knowledge of fans and users of O&O platforms, systems can be put in place to deliver specific digital experiences to targeted audiences based on that data and knowledge.
Interactive digital experiences for fans, including polls, surveys and mini-games. These tools give fans different ways to engage and surface useful insights into a fan’s interests and preferences.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
Manage all of a company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes and improve profitability.
Content Delivery Networks (CDN)
A geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers that deliver content to individuals. CDNs help provide high availability and performance by distributing the service spatially relative to end users.
Analytics / User Behavior Analytics Platforms
Platforms that collect data from websites and apps to create reports that provide insights into your users.
Sports Data Provider / Stack
The generation, management, delivery and analysis of sports data is as important as any other topic in sports. Some sports entities collect and provide their own data, while others utilize 3rd party providers.
Gamification / Loyalty
Programs that give value back to the fan based on their actions with digital experiences or in-venue technologies.
Business Intelligence / Data Lake
A centralized repository that allows you to store all your structured and unstructured data to provide insights across all departments.
Optimizing These Technologies
When implemented correctly, the technologies listed above can help answer key questions that every organization should be asking themselves:
- Do we know what our fans are doing on our O&O platforms?
- Do we know what we want our fans to be doing?
- Do we know what our highest value activities are on our O&O platforms?
- Do we know how to guide our fans to our highest value activities?
…and, most importantly…
- Are our technology choices driving revenue for our organization?
At Next League, we have years of experience working with and integrating these technologies within our partners’ existing tech stacks. We are excited to see how these technologies, and the results they can help deliver, continue to evolve. Click here to download our complete Industry Outlook report for more insight and perspective.