Dimension Data > Accelerating the Tour de France > Sports industry- leading the digital transformation charge

Sports industry- leading the digital transformation charge


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Gerard Florian | Chief Strategy Officer | ITaaS

Gerard Florian | Chief Strategy Officer | ITaaS

In my previous blog I shared my perspectives on the importance of engaging with customers through relevant, frequent, and personalised communication, in order to effectively compete in the digital age. I believe that businesses that get it right have an opportunity to fundamentally change the nature of their relationships with customers, win their loyalty, and grow their ‘share of wallet’ in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on how I see the sports industry leading the charge. For some years now, sporting conglomerates around the world have been relooking their customer engagement strategies to make sporting events more accessible to a wider range of fans and spectators, and tap into new geographies and demographic groups. The reason is simple: the more followers of their events they can attract, the more they’ll increase the financial stability and strength of the franchise. This provides resources for growth and expansion and gives them the ability to attract top talent.

Their strategy also includes making it more affordable to be a fan.

Today, enjoying an on-site sporting experience isn’t cheap. For instance, if you’re a family of four, attending a baseball game will set you back around USD 300, once you’ve paid for your tickets, parking, and refreshments. The future popularity of a sport is dependent on its ability to attract a younger audience – people who remain followers of the sport and, over time, evolve into business people who bring clients to events, and parents who take their children to games on family outings. Millennials are multi-connected – often watching games live with their mobiles in hand or watching a big screen TV in their living rooms while streaming live commentary from other fans on their computers.

Sports franchises and the companies that promote them are looking to enhance the overall experience for the public in several ways – catering to specific demographics.

Some have set up rooms in stadia where mothers can nurse their infants while watching the game on TV – a more attractive option than staying home or paying for a sitter. Many have on-site child care facilities – not all three year olds are fascinated for three hours of a baseball game. Most big stadiums have Wi-Fi, so that in addition to following the game live, spectators can also pick up Twitter feeds and social media posts from sports broadcasters and player representatives. Sometimes the teams themselves will even tweet their interpretation of a call. Collectively, these customer focused options contribute to providing a richer, more immersive experience for all sporting enthusiasts.

The A.S.O., the owner of a number of sporting events, including the Tour de France, had a vision to revolutionise the viewing experience of fans of this high-performance sport. This year, with the support of Dimension Data, its Official Technology Partner, the A.S.O. embraced digital technology to satisfy the heightened expectations of fans, sports commentators, and media following the Tour. By making use of its cloud, big data, and analytics expertise, Dimension Data provided an innovative digital ‘lens’ to provide real-time updates on the race as well as share riders’ individual location and speed with the audience, whether they were watching on television or and other digital platforms.  The solution also ensured that cycling enthusiasts from across the world who couldn’t travel to France to attend the event were able to participate in the race, minute by minute. So by harnessing the power of technology, Dimension Data has enabled the A.S.O. to transform the Tour de France into a truly global event.

For me, it’s incredibly exciting to be part of a company that’s harnessing the power of technology to drive transformational changes in the world of cycling by using cloud as the foundational technology, and our expertise in mobile applications, security, and data management and delivery. And the possibilities are endless, not only in the world of sports. I believe that any organisation that’s looking to become a digital enterprise, enhance their target customers’ experience, and retain their loyalty over time, would do well to take a closer look at these kinds of game-changing solutions.