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Internet of Things (IoT) in Sport – Thematic Research

Pages: 43 Published: October 29, 2021 Report Code: GDSPO-TR-S011

The global Internet of Things market was found to be valued $622 billion in 2020, having grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 12%. While the sports industry is typically a slow adopter of technology, clubs are embracing IoT. Increased fan engagement, better performance, and improved matchday returns are just some benefits IoT brings.

Sports fans are now, more than ever, watching sports digitally, through streaming apps, for example. This gives sporting organizations a chance to develop a closer relationship with fans. Leading clubs are developing apps that make fans feel more connected to the club than ever before. Aside from just smartphones, IoT can help augment this relationship (sometimes using artificial intelligence) through the provision of real-time statistics.

In terms of on-field performance, sports teams have been using devices such as heart rate monitors for decades. But the myriad of IoT devices springing up in the late 2010s have brought increased value. Teams can now track many different variables in their players, such as speed and action success. With margins between winning and losing now so fine, clubs and individuals should make good use of these devices. Also, with player safety a growing concern in high-impact sports such as football and rugby, IoT devices in helmets and mouthguards can help to limit the impact of concussions and reduce the risk of long-term injury.

What are the sports challenges facing the Sports sector?

The consumption of sport has changed dramatically since the turn of the 21st century. Sports fans are now more tech-enabled than ever before, and sports companies must adopt new technologies to reach fans. IoT can play a key role, helping to develop closer relationships with fans, impress potential sponsors, and drive revenues. In IoT, sporting companies are primarily looking to acquire and partner with wearable tech companies.

Fan engagement: IoT can help with fan engagement in a variety of ways. It can be used to drive fan engagement by providing statistics and match information to supporters. Sensors placed on players or match equipment, such as balls and player armor, collect information that is processed and sent to broadcasters. This provides those watching at home with greater detail about the match.

Athlete performance: Wearable tech is the area of IoT that provides the strongest possibility of increasing athlete performance, and its uses in the sector have been growing over the last few years. The main uses in sport have largely applied to optimizing player performance and monitoring the physical conditions of players in an attempt to minimize the risk of injuries.

Sponsors: Sports events, teams, and individuals have been targets for sponsorship for around a century. Sport’s broad cultural appeal means that brands associated with events receive a diversity of attention that would be hard to gain from elsewhere. Thus, competition for sponsorship in the industry is high. Brands receive a better return on investment (ROI) from teams and individuals that perform well, promote positive values, and prove they can make money for the brand.

COVID-19: Sport was hit hard by COVID-19. Almost all sports across virtually every country had events that were either canceled or postponed. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship are just two examples of events that had to go on hold until 2021. This caused significant disruption to clubs and individuals. Revenues from broadcasters were lost until events could be televised and streamed with empty seats, and revenues from ticket sales only began to pick back up in spring and summer 2021.

Player safety: IoT is used to aid player safety and reduce concussions by collecting and providing information on player impacts. Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, like those from Zebra Technologies, can be used to measure the severity of impacts in the NFL. Should a player receive a particularly powerful impact, this can be logged, and the device may suggest that the player should rest. Rugby league is another sport that has been investigating the potential benefits of IoT to improve safety.

Media competition: Competition for broadcasting rights in the sports industry is high. Sport is one of the few remaining genres of content for which live viewing is important. Indeed, sports events make up most of the top-viewed programs in a given year – in 2018, eight of the top 10 most-viewed events in the US were sports events. Because most of a professional sport’s team income comes from broadcasting, ensuring good competition for these broadcasting rights is a primary concern for clubs and individuals.

Who are the major players in the market?

The leading IoT adopters in sport are Formula One, Major League Baseball, National Football League and Wilson. The leading IoT vendors in sport are Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Broadcom, Cisco, GE, IBM, Intel and Microsoft. The specialist IoT vendors in sports are Catapult Sports, Fanplay IoT, ShotTracker, Zebra Technologies and StatSport.

Internet of Things in Sports, by key players

Internet of Things in Sports, by key players

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Market report scope

Global IoT market size (Year – 2020) $622 billion
Key Players Formula One, Major League Baseball, National Football League and Wilson, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Broadcom, Cisco, GE, IBM, Intel and Microsoft, Catapult Sports, Fanplay IoT, ShotTracker, Zebra Technologies and StatSport


We highlight key developments within the sports IoT theme, along with its top mergers and acquisition deals, and a timeline of past and future milestones. The report also features market and forecast data, along with our company analysis section, looking at the most important players in the IoT field and their key moves in the sector.

Reasons to Buy

  • Understand the impact IoT is having in the sports space. Identify the emerging trends in the theme and how these developments might advance in the future. Learn about the different use cases and where they are emerging. View market and forecast data for the sector.
  • GlobalData’s thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors. It has a proven track record of identifying the important themes early, enabling companies to make the right investments ahead of the competition, and secure that all-important competitive advantage.

Key Players

Formula One

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. IoT value chain

    • 2.1. Device layer
    • 2.2. Connectivity layer
    • 2.3. Data layer
    • 2.4. App layer
    • 2.5. Services layer

  • 3. Sport challenges
  • 4. The impact of IoT on sport
  • 5. Case studies
  • 6. Market size and growth forecasts
  • 7. Mergers and acquisitions

    • 7.1. Partnerships

  • 8. IoT timeline
  • 9. Companies

    • 9.1. Leading IoT adopters in sport
    • 9.2. Leading IoT vendors
    • 9.3. Specialist IoT vendors in sport

  • 10. Glossary
  • 11. Further reading
  • 12. Our thematic research methodology
  • 13. About GlobalData
  • 14. Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

The size of the global IoT in market in 2020 was being valued at $622 billion.


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