American writer Edwin Way Teale once said, “The world’s favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” This is certainly the case for SportsInnovation, the immersive international platform for technological progress. Launched by Messe Düsseldorf in cooperation with DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga, the inaugural event in Düsseldorf (Germany) on May 8-9 is the first of its kind in the world, and future-forward approaches are budding and blooming aplenty. The two-day fair will showcase current innovations and future sports technology while providing an interactive platform for exchange and dialogue between international football clubs, sports associations, league representatives, sports venue operators, media members, and academics.
In numbers: Over 40 of the most forward-thinking companies in the fields of Broadcasting, Match Analysis, Digital Services, Stadium Experience, and Matches & Tournaments, from 10 different countries, will present their latest products and services. Exhibitors at the event will include SAP, deltatre, Sony Europe (Switzerland), Dolby Germany, EVS Broadcast Equipment (Belgium), RIEDEL Communications, Kinexon, NeuLion, ChyronHego, IBM, Beyond Sports, Lawo, EBU, Lagardère, Supponor, Panasonic, Vizrt and Muso Lighting (USA), among others.
More than 700 guests from 20 countries on 5 continents will gather in Düsseldorf; over 400 of the handpicked attendees – including the Steering Group of the World Leagues Forum (WLF), the international association of professional football leagues – will join the unique sports tech fair based on invitations extended by the DFL.
“Since its establishment, the DFL has been driving innovation, and taking part in the SportsInnovation event is the next logical step in this process,” says Christian Seifert, Chief Executive Officer of DFL. “The event underscores that the courage to embrace technological progress is a hallmark of professional football in Germany.”
At the core of SportsInnovation will be three Innovation Matches involving Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 youth teams in the ESPRIT arena. In those matches, the under-23 team of Fortuna Düsseldorf will take on Borussia Mönchengladbach’s under-23 team, the under-17 teams of Fortuna Düsseldorf and Bayer 04 Leverkusen will face each other, while 1. FC Köln and MSV Duisburg will be represented by teams combining under-17 and under-23 players in their match. All Innovation Games will be produced with 29 cameras in UHD quality, and state-of-the-art camera systems by nine different vendors will be used throughout the stadium. Seven of these camera systems have been specially designed for this purpose and have never been used before in any football production.
“From the beginning, it was very important for us to create an event that not only talks about innovation, but also combines innovative ideas with a very practical approach, featuring lots of live-showcases,” says Alexander Günther, Managing Director of Sportcast. “This gives SportsInnovation a truly unique dimension and helps this event fulfill its ambitious goal of becoming a global platform for innovation in sports.”
While all games will be produced with the Bundesliga set-up for TV signal and data production, the program accompanying each of the matches will see a different technological focus: Match analysis, broadcasting, and stadium experience respectively will be discussed in-depth with leading experts, emceed by renowned sports journalist Raphael Honigstein, who will moderate the centre stage program and panels throughout the interactive event.
Opening the first SportsInnovation Night on May 8, 2018, Gold-Sponsor deltatre presents a high-level panel discussion “Executive Experts Talk – League representatives look ahead”.
With Mark Waller, Executive Vice President, International & Events of the NFL, Lars-Christer Olsson, Chairman of the European Leagues and Andreas Heyden, CEO of DFL Digital Sports GmbH, deltatre has gathered an exceptional group of experts.
All vendors will be equipped with video, audio, and data live feeds through a lavish, special set-up media network that will include the contributions of about 20 different providers. The uniquely elaborate media production that has been organized, coordinated, and executed by DFL subsidiary Sportcast, is among the biggest of its kind in an event that is not open to the public. Sportcast has also contributed significantly to the vendor acquisition. Another DFL subsidiary, Sportec Solutions, is responsible for the entire data production process during the Innovation Matches.