Will LA 2024 be the most innovative Olympics ever?

The city of Los Angeles goal is to be world-leading in the areas of innovation, technology, and green initiatives. With the Silicon Valley only 350 miles away, the conditions couldn’t, of course, be better. The strategy will have an impact on the Olympics – if Los Angeles wins the bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

One of the ”innovative” areas LA 2024 are looking at is eSports.

LA2024 Chair, Casey Wasserman, says:

”eSports’ immense global popularity and continued advances in digital technologies as tremendous tools for reconnecting millennials with the Olympic movement.”

Augmented reality could be real

Casey Wassermann hopes that technologies such as augmented reality will make the Olympics more interesting to a younger demographics, and ”to promote healthy lifestyles [as] a key objective… to create a new Games for a new era in 2024”.

LA2024 is also looking at hackathons.

The bid organization sponsored, for the second consecutive year, the LA Hacks Hackathon event at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. The event brings together programmers to work intensively around the clock on hardware and software issues and solutions, including some that will be integrated into the Olympics.

”LA 2024’s involvement with LA Hacks… is proof of young people’s love for the Olympic and Paralympic Games – participants jumped at the opportunity to contribute to creating the most innovative Games experience in history.”, says Luke Chui, LA Hacks President and current UCLA student, to SportsFeatures.com.

VR – the closest to the Olympics you will ever be?

Then, there is Virtual Reality.

California-based company NextVR are making progress to re-invite live, immersive sports broadcasting. Partnering with leagues such as the NBA and Major League Baseball, fans can experience the games through virtual reality via the NextVR app. The broadcasts feature multiple camera views, replay, graphics, and even dedicated commentator and analysts.

And don’t forget the sustainability program with green innovation in center.

”Under the leadership of the venue’s owner, AEG, StubHub Center will be the location of LA 2024’s Green Sports Park, highlighting the best in sport and green innovation.”, said Brence Culp, Sustainability Director of LA 2024.

And, as the GreenSportBlog describes it:

”Before we get to LA 2024’s sustainability story, let’s reflect on this: How GREAT is it that the two remaining bids to host the 2024 Summer Olympics are in a figurative, innovative battle to see which is the most sustainable? Would this have been the case five years ago? I think not. To channel my inner Joe Biden, this is a ’big…deal!'”

LA2024 will seek to be an early innovator of new technologies that ”have not even been created yet”. On September 13, we will know if Los Angeles will be the host of the Olympics 2024, or if Paris has beaten them.

Football team lets fans vote for plays

When the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles played their game last Thursday, all of the team’s offensive plays were voted on by fans using a smartphone app.

The team’s approach to tech-enabled touch could play a major role in for the future of sports and fan engagement. The experiment seems to have been a success in terms of fan enthusiasm, David Z. Morris write for Fortune.

Screaming Eagles fans actually rushed the field after the historic first touchdown made on a play they called.

The match attracted 150,000 viewers from 99 countries, mostly through a stream hosted on Facebook Live by Sports Illustrated. It’s a relatively small number compared to NFL, but a huge leap for tech-based fan engagement.

By the way, the Screaming Eagles lost the game. This time.

Trends that will boost your fan engagement

Jakob Wikenstål have gathered some of the best inventions from past year that might boost (y)our success in 2017. I would like to pick out three of the six trends spotted.

The first one, ”Smart jersey”, with a case from Tampa Bay Lightning, is a combination between fan engagement and ticket marketing strategy. The NHL team introduced a replica jersey equipped with a radio frequency chip embedded in the sleeve. Fans can scan the chip (read: jersey) at stadium stores to receive discounts on refreshments and merchandise.

It sounds like an excellent way to connect with your fans and increase the visual event experience in the same time, doesn’t?

Well, the case is in fact from 2011 (!), and it’s interesting that the technology and theory behind it haven’t been a breakthrough yet. Preston McClellan wrote about it again in 2014 in the context of Ryder Cup. A lot has happened on the digitalization since 2011, but I guess this one is still up for grabs.

The second trend from Jakob that I would like to highlight is ”VR Sports Museums”.

There has been a lot of (good) stuff published on the broader topic, and I think you will find the big picture by reading Virtual Reality in Tourism (excellent blog, bookmark it!) and How Virtual Reality is Being Used in Museums. In short, if you managed to miss it, is that sports (and museums) are experiences, but what happens when you can get ’the same’ experience with glasses…

Is VR a big threat to (live) sports? Yes, of course. But also a true win when you combine R and VR.

Last but not least, I think the revolution of the pick number three, ”Stadiums 2.0”, only just begun.

We might have a lot of top-modern sports and entertainment arenas all over the world, but just look at what is going on in the Out-Of-Home Advertising (OOH) Industry and you will soon find out that our stadiums will go from ”part-time white elephants” to digital, personalized experience spaces.

Digital signs are talking to me when I walk from the subway to the office. My dishwasher talks to me when I’m lazy at home (almost never happens though…). Why wouldn’t a stadium talk to me when my favorite team are about to play, just scored or when the queue to the hot dogs is too long?

It will happen. Gradually.