Famed computer scientist Alan Kay once said: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
The minds behind SportsInnovation 2018 certainly couldn’t agree more. The inaugural two-day event by Messe Düsseldorf in cooperation with DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga has brought together an exceptional group of companies, presenting a plethora of innovative products and awe-inspiring services in various areas of the field of sports technology, as the international exhibitors presented their innovative ideas to almost 500 guests from 20 countries on the first day of the event. “Meet the Future of Sport” pointedly summarises the pioneering spirit of this one-of-a-kind fair at the ESPRIT arena in Düsseldorf (Germany).
Following the opening with DFL CEO Christian Seifert, Werner M. Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, and Giampiero Rinaudo, CEO and Co-Founder of deltatre S.p.A., and a keynote speech by Christian Seifert, the first day of SportsInnovation 2018 focused on technologies and insights pertaining to all aspects of match analysis.
“SportsInnovation also sends a signal to the outside world: Sport in general – as one of the most attractive media contents in the world – was and is a pacemaker for technological advancement,” stated Seifert in his keynote. “That is why we, the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga, made the conscious decision to partner with SportsInnovation.”
At the core of the event, the first of three Innovation Matches, played by the under-17 teams of Fortuna Düsseldorf and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, provided the canvas for showcasing various progressive technologies, including production in the state-of-the-art UHD HDR standard by DFL subsidiary Sportcast. Highlighted technologies also included new tracking systems geared towards garnering match data, primarily implemented by DFL subsidiary Sportec Solutions, and a new referee radio system — developed in cooperation with the DFL and used for the first time. Furthermore, based on the gathered match data, visitors were for example given the opportunity to experience the actual match in an e-sports look by wearing virtual reality goggles.
Other future-forward ideas presented included Artificial Intelligence (AI) products allowing for automated editing live based on real-time data and AI integration, facial recognition and audio detection systems, or AI-implementation into production workflows; wearables as well as optical GPS tracking solutions that create a new live data experience for sport analysis and media graphics; IP transmission and how it changes global distribution and streaming services; voice-controlled individualized graphics solutions, and much more.
The fresh approaches and progress-minded ideas presented on Day 1 of SportsInnovation 2018 were discussed at length at various events, such as a panel entitled “Future data use in the media and the sports industry” with participants including Klaus Filbry, CEO of SV Werder Bremen and member of the DFL Board, Jan Henkel, sports presenter at Eurosport, Stefan Reinartz, former German international and CEO of Impect, and Steffen Simon, Head of Sports at Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR).