Technology solutions are empowering the rise of emerging sports.
As Australians’ sport is in our blood, we bleed the green and gold and love cheering on our favourite teams. But advances in technology solutions for the sporting industry are having far reaching effects far beyond increasing the reach of our traditional national sports of Australia. While the pull of supporting our baggy green caps, favourite NBL, NRL, AFL or BBL teams is not going anywhere, the advances in new sports tech is seeing a rapid rise in emerging sports across Australia.
We constantly hear that sports participation may be stagnating, youth participation in formal structured sports is down and yet to recover from the COVID decline and causing 16,000 clubs to be driven to the brink of financial closure (Australian Sports Foundation 2023). But what if this doesn’t paint the full picture? Sport isn’t dying, it is evolving, growing and changing. Driven by new and rapidly advancing technology solutions that are empowering emerging sports to reach participants, wider audiences and to grow fan engagement. This technology is pushing these emerging sports in front of thousands of new fans everyday. The “Future of Australian sport” report by Sport Aus shows that since 2010 sports associated with a national body have grown by 5% while sports not associated with a national body, emerging sports or ‘extreme activities’ have grown by 15% in that same time.
These emerging sports represent a growing trend towards accessing sports for interest and enjoyment sake over competition and elite pathways. Data shows that youth participation drops away at the age where performance and elite pathways become a greater priority of the sport, the same report also shows that the greatest motivators for participation remains enjoyment or the development of a new skill. The greatest failure in sport and its growth is the failure to provide formats that are accessible and engaging to participants not driven by performance. Emerging sports are addressing these failures by focussing on accessibility and engagement at the participant and fan levels and are powered by purpose built digital solutions. These solutions are designed to grow participation numbers, reduce game day stress, increase fan engagement, increase membership numbers while also managing the development of athletes through elite programs.
Such an example is Beach Flags and Beach Relay, a surf life saving sport, the sport is pushing to be included in the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and its rise and popularity is being driven by accessibility and engagement at the fan and accessibility levels powered by purpose built digital solutions.
Sport isn’t dying, it is evolving, driven by an evolving need to access and engage participants and fans digitally, now more than ever sports of all sizes need purpose built digital solutions.