La Liga and Microsoft have been partners since 2016, embarking on a variety of projects together since that time, all with a focus on technology and soccer – the perfect pair. Global soccer teams and leagues have access to tons of data – around both their fans and players – but are always looking for new ways to leverage it. As Microsoft and La Liga continue work on different projects to put that data to use, fans, marketers, media, teams, and leagues will all emerge as winners.
Microsoft initially provided La Liga with a pair of tools to help the league better connect with their 1.7 billion fans on social media around the world, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and data visualization. This enabled La Liga to have a better understanding of their fans in different parts of the globe and help deliver the optimal fan experience to different groups of people. Back in September, they extended their deal to make La Liga content available to Microsoft News users and on various Microsoft platforms including Windows, Microsoft Edge, Xbox Live, and Bing in an effort to reach fans in a different variety of mediums.
In their latest effort, Microsoft’s Global Sports Innovation Centre is at the forefront as they launch a global competition focused on sports-tech start-ups, empowering digital talent to develop disruptive solutions in the soccer, sports, and entertainment industries. Ten finalists out of a potential 25 entries could get the chance to work on a pilot project with La Liga that could ultimately see their creation brought to life.
The technological innovation competition centers around the following cornerstones:
- Media: OTT, broadcasting, social media, digital content, new media, digital marketing, second screens, etc.
- Fan Engagement: fan profiles, social media, esports, gamification, social listening, VR/AR/MR, etc.
- Smart Venues: security, fan engagement, ticket sales, fan experience, food & beverages, cashless payments, etc.
- Sports Performance: analysis, sports training materials, injury prevention, health and lifestyle, etc.
- Others: big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc.
As leagues, teams, and organizations continue to push technological limits and find new ways to achieve KPIs, look for them to lean on external developers and start-ups more and more for continuous innovation. Look no further than U.S. Soccer who, in 2018, invited data scientists, developers, engineers, and analysts with coding abilities to a “Hackathon” where they could provide input towards the development of commercial or sporting value using supplied data.