Leaders Summit Day 2 Recap: FC Barcelona’s Biz, Sports Sponsors, eSports, & More

In March 2017, Leaders Performance Institute held their annual Leaders Summit in New York, bringing together leaders from the sports business world.

This is a collection of the best quotes, stats, insights, and observations shared via #Leaders17 on Day 2 of the event. Thanks to everyone whose tweets helped fuel this recap!

Check out the Day 1 recap, too.

What Takes Sports Tech From Emergent to Mainstream

Many of us live in a bubble. If you’re reading this, then terms like AR, e-sports, and wearables likely don’t sound so foreign to you. But the average person would likely be left with blank stares at the mention of such jargon.

A new idea or tech isn’t mainstream when it hits SportTechie, it’s when it hits the masses (whether that’s TV, New York Times, or your favorite team) that tech has really taken off.

It can be easy to take for granted that most people aren’t informed or aware (or care to know about) emerging tech in sports tech and digital/social in sports. Joe Schmo hasn’t tried VR, probably doesn’t know what AR stands for, and would be wide-eyed learning about all the big data and insights penetrating all facets of sports and teams.

The teams can drive the awareness and adoption. The Internet of Things, VR, AR, big data, and the like can be effectively introduced to the masses by the millions of sports fans. It’s when Joe Sports Fan starts to understand and to care that tech or an idea can from curiosity to perceived reality.

“As teams start to capitalize on [using new tech for fan engagement]…is where something can find success,” said Diamond Leung, Managing Editor of SportTechie. “When it starts getting into the Average Joe’s world view…it can be successful.”


Leung went further saying that, because so few of us own virtual reality headsets, augmented reality has the better short-term outlook. Why? Because we all have smartphones already. But whether it’s AR or VR or MR or advanced statistics, or whatever, it’s ultimately up to the teams and the media to create the content through which fans will utilize such new tech to consume. Awareness of AR and VR may grow, but without the content, it’s just an idea. And it’s through an app, but mainstream distribution. For now, this means social media and television.

“When you put it on TV, that’s when it gets mainstream,” said Leung, specifically referring to the gradual integration of advanced stats into game broadcasts. I think as some of these next-level analytical stats get measured (with wearables or other trackers)…I think if you can provide that information to broadcasters and that information becomes something valuable to a fan and be looking at it through AR…

“I think that’s where it really takes off; easily accessible. Something that gives you that next-level access to what’s going on on the field – I think that works for both players and fans.”

This also means teams and media must be able to realize value, a real or perceived ROI on the investment in resources and tools to create such advanced content and present such advanced data to fans. If media and leagues and teams can’t make money off live-streaming VR or creating AR, it won’t last too long. Another key is getting buy-in from the players and teams. What if the NBAPA doesn’t want fans knowing which player on the team has the most efficient fitness and work ratio? Are players going to devote even more time to co-creating content with teams (another can of worms with individual players’ increasing awareness and building of personal brands and content) because a team wants to shoot a VR piece after they’re done with ‘traditional’ media obligations? The bureaucracy and red tape, along with the ROI needs of the businesses, may be a temporary or perilous hindrance to the further advancement in this space.

“I think, for the current technologies, a lot of [the potential issues are] going to be haggled out in how they address wearable devices, in how they address data,” said Leung. “Who owns it, who can use it, who has access to it. Everybody understands that these things are going to be a factor moving forward, it’s just a matter of how they hash it out, how they regulate, and how they embrace it, to the point where it can be useful for both parties.”

The last ten years have maybe seen more rapid change in sports and sports fandom, and society in general, than any decade in history. It’ll be tough to match. But the next ten years will see more gradual infusion of new tech. Millions of fans won’t get VR headsets overnight or welcome advanced stats into their broadcast, among other behavioral changes.

Get to know Joe Schmo. If you want to have idea for when to go all in or whether you’ve effectively moved the needle, it goes back to Joe. The path ahead is sure to be full of twists and turns, but there is no doubt that, ten years from now, the sports world will look a whole lot different than it does today.

LISTEN to my full conversation with Diamond Leung, Managing Editor of SportTechie



Episode 82 Snippets: Kurt Stadelman is Turning EA Sports Into an Engaging, Trusted Voice

On episode 82 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Kurt Stadelman, Senior Social Media Manager for EA Sports.

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

Follow me on Twitter @njh287 Connect on LinkedIn

Episode 81 Snippets: Josh Decker and Tagboard Are Fostering Fan Communities

On episode 81 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Josh Decker, CEO at Tagboard.

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

Follow me on Twitter @njh287 Connect on LinkedIn

Sports Teams Start Using Snapchat Spectacles and Make Fans Feel Part of the Team

Another day, another new toy for social media and sports, as Snapchat’s Spectacles (remember, Snapchat is a camera company, not a social media company), have arrived on the scene. It’s like Google Glass + GoPro, but cooler and more intrinsically connected with social media and a network for distribution.

This past week, two sports teams — the Minnesota Wild of the NHL and the University of Miami Hurricanes football team — got a hold of some Spectacles and became the first major sports teams to start creating content with Snapchat’s new product. No best practices, no tried and true concepts, just pure experimentation and using the Spectacles to deliver new content in new ways to fans that they could not do without Spectacles.

The best part of Snapchat has been the raw, uncut access to teams fans have gotten, and Spectacles allows fans, through the lens of the trusty social media manager, to not just be in the room as an onlooker, but to truly feel part of the narrative, part of the team. These were the moments that stood out to me for both teams, when it felt like the fan watching was part of the pregame walk past all the cheering fans (for the Canes) or another member of the circle kicking around the soccer ball before a game (as we did with the Wild).

Just like there’s no comparison to the goosebumps induced when a player makes eye contact with the fans or speaks directly to them, Spectacles offers the opportunity for immersion. The behind-the-scenes content, in and of itself, is highly effective, but is taken to another level when fans feel like an active participant, instead of a passive onlooker. It drives that deeper engagement and connection that teams are after in their social media efforts.

The rest of the content seen from these teams’ first forays with Spectacles gave a different, first-person POV into the game day experience. The Hurricanes took fans on the field pregame (but this was understandably less participatory than the previous content), while the Wild got creative in trying to find other unique ways to give fans a perspective they hadn’t experienced before. This included seeing what it’s like to have a view on a ZAMBONI ride and even put us behind the t-shirt cannon with the mascot, firing shirts into the crowd. There is a lot of experimentation left to come, and teams will get to spread their wings of creativity to see what works well with Snapchat Spectacles.

More teams will get their hands on Spectacles and, no doubt, we’ll continue to see more novel and new ways to use them to produce compelling content. The biggest takeaway, for me, from these initial uses is to, like with any new toy, consider what Spectacles allow teams to do than they couldn’t do before. For Spectacles, the ‘whoa’ moments came when the Spectacles made fans feel like another player on the team, not a fly on the wall, but another participant. I imagine it’ll be awesome when a player dons Spectacles at practice, inside a pregame huddle, etc. In this sense, it’s like a more accessible, ore social version of GoPro, complete with features that make Snapchat different, too, like filters, quick video edits, quick sharing to the masses, and, eventually, the integration of player-generated and fan-generated content to weave first-person POV stories unlike ever before.

Social media has allowed teams to create everlasting connections with fans more than ever before – driving emotional investment with the team and players. Spectacles offers a new way to make fans feel a part of the team, to build attachments that new tech like VR and AR promises. Delivering the content and telling the stories is now easier than ever, the next step is to make fans feel like they’re not just watching the stories, but part of them, feeling the emotion, seeing the little gestures and idiosyncrasies that social media managers take for granted, and making these larger-than-life figures come to life. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead as Spectacles re-define spectating and fans will feel ever more connected and engaged.