Consumer Electronics Show Will Put Sports Technology Front and CenterBy Robert H. Mann | Published: December 11, 2018 at 11:15 am
Technology continues to be a primary catalyst driving the explosion of interest in sports, and subsequently sports wagering in the U.S., a fact noted by the organizers of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Jan. 8-11.
The CES 2018 final audit revealed total attendance of 182,198 from 160 countries, including 6,645 verified media outlets.
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the group producing CES, says for the second year sports tech will be a major focal point at this year’s event, and CES will again launch its “Sports Zone,” a designated convention space at what is considered the foremost U.S. technology show. As for timing, this year’s CES follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision in May that removed the federal roadblock to individual states establishing and regulating their own sports wagering marketplaces.
Expanded Sports Zone Will Feature Sports-Related Technology
A wide variety of sports-related conferences and meetings will also featured at CES 2019 and CES’ Sports Zone, will be as big as 6,500 square feet, marking an increase from the 4,500 square feet it allocated to Sports Zone last January.
Attendees will, for the first time since the Supreme Court ruling and the emergence of new sports wagering markets, see how sports tech enables enhanced athletic training, fosters fan engagement, and produces data for would-be sports bettors.
CES organizers say they will provide a track for sports-focused technologists on the forefront of athletic quantification, a crucial element for savvy sports bettors, and smart venues that can augment the fan experience that increasingly include wagering on games. CES says it will be fortifying this effort with more Sports Zone-dedicated exhibitor space working to create an environment for athletes and sports-tech entrepreneurs to come together.
The list of sports-related participants at this year’s show is not yet final, but CES says it has confirmed 13 sports-related exhibitors, including brain analytics and eye-tracking company SyncThink and Omega Sports Technology, which makes precision line-calling software to assist officials in sports such as tennis and baseball, where the human element in the form of umpires sometimes can alter a game outcome and turn a winning bet into a loser.
Other Sports Zone exhibitors are helmet manufacturer Livall Tech, EMS and muscle recovery device Hi-Dow Electron, golf simulator Golfzon Newdin, combat sports training machine BotBoxer, and smart clothing maker Smartlife.
Major Professional Sports Leagues Will Be Represented
The newly formed Alliance of American Football (AAF) says its players at some point will wear smart uniforms with devices that transmit data to be used as part of its “in-play” wagering product. The AAF begins its inaugural season in Feb. 9, 2019, one week after the Super Bowl.
Sense Arena, a Czech-based startup that allows athletes in training to utilize virtual reality (VR) training techniques, is on board with a synthetic ice display that will serve as a scaled-down mirror of the Vegas Golden Knights’ T-Mobile home arena through which it will display its new VR training technology.
In previous years, CES has hosted all of the major sports leagues, including the NBA, NFL, MLB and NASCAR, and professional athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Joe Montana and Michael Phelps.
Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala in August conducted their second annual tech conference to connect athletes, technologists, and investors. Earlier this year, SeventySix Capital launched its Athlete Venture Group, led by recently retired MLB all-star Ryan Howard, in an effort to provide a conduit for professional athletes to invest in sports-related tech startups.
SeventySix Capital, among other projects, is an early investor in the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN), a multi-channel, multi-media sports wagering information provider featuring noted sports broadcaster Brent Musburger.
Other CES topics expected to impact sports bettors, who are increasingly relying on mobile platforms for wagering, include 5G mobile communications and artificial intelligence that can be used to help determine winning wagers, in addition to improving in-arena experiences for all fans including those wishing to bet at the games, where legal.