Tyler Suiters  0:11 

Hey everybody, I'm Tyler Suiters for the Consumer Technology Association. We are the owners and the producers of CES the most influential tech event anywhere on the planet and we are here to get you CES ready. The big show is January 8-11, 2019, in Las Vegas. And today, we are addressing sports technology and CES is where you'll find the intersection of professional athletes and sports technology and seemingly everything in between. Only at CES, can you catch up with Esports, an immersive fan experience also technologies for smart venues. And we're addressing the quantified athlete, what athletes are going through when they're performing their sports and it's all in one place. CES is where the future of sports technology comes to life. And today to varied views on sports and tech. The first is with the CEO of a sports company called HYPE. If you haven't heard of it, you should know who this guy is. He has a doctorate in aerospace, a master's in business. He has worked in the semiconductor industry. And now he's focusing all that innovation and experience on the sports tech sector. And also, this is a real job. We're talking to a professor of sport management. How cool is that? She is into not only with the latest tech trends for sports and what the sports audience is right now, how its evolving and how it's embracing technology, but she also happens to be a major sports fan which certainly helps her perspective. All that is coming up on this edition of CES Tech Talk. Dr. Lisa Neirotti is with George Washington University here in Washington, D.C. She is a professor of sport management there. And, Professor, excuse me, I'm going to go through your long resume here, as impressive as it is. She is president of the Washington chapter of women in sports and events. She is on the editorial board of Sports Travel magazine and is the author most recently of The Globalization in Sports. Professor Neirotti, thank you for your time today.

Lisa Neirotti  2:22 

Thank you.

Tyler Suiters  2:23 

OK, now that I'm catching my breath after that long resume, and as I said, it is impressive. You have an interesting take on where sports fandom is heading, whether that's in person, whether that is at home, give us a brief overview of your vision, if you don't mind.

Lisa Neirotti  2:42 

I've been following, you know, fan experiences both at home and in the stadium over my 28 years as a professor, and you know, technology does have a major impact. And it's interesting that technology that enhances the at home experience impacts the attendance in the stadium and this is nothing new. As you know, we were worried when I wasn't. Back then when TV came about, people were worried how, you know, showing games on TV was going to impact attendance in the stadium.

Tyler Suiters  3:16 

So do you see it? It being the innovation and the technology that that we're is getting more incorporated in the fan experience is that going to drive fan attendance as well through fan enthusiasm, through fan interest that people who may not be especially interested in investing hours in watching a sport will feel it's a bit more participatory, participatory, that there's something else there for them besides the game itself?

Lisa Neirotti  3:45 

With so much of correspondence happening online now and fewer and fewer personal engagements. I feel sports has that role of bringing people together. Just look at the Caps win. I mean people went downtown and hung outside the stadium or outside the arena just to gather and support that team.

Tyler Suiters  4:08 

So this is the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup victory earlier this year.

Lisa Neirotti  4:12 

Exactly.

Tyler Suiters  4:12 

Right, right, to a long-suffering city. We’ve gone a long time without a national championship.

Lisa Neirotti  4:12 

But when you looked at that crowd, I would say the majority of them were not fans of Caps prior to their run. I think they felt a bonding with everybody. And in this decisive time in in our history, I think sports pulls people together. So I think sports teams can use that to their advantage of saying this is a kind of safe area for everybody to come and enjoy an activity.

Tyler Suiters  4:50 

And at a much, much more basic consumer level too, Professor, it seems that technology is enhancing even that aspect of it because one of the easiest ways to track what was going on outside Cap One arena, the night of the capitals victory when it was in Las Vegas, they won the game in Las Vegas, but the celebration was here in Washington was, via social media. Right? You wanted to be there to get your picture in front of the home arena of the Capitals, right? Or you in your hockey sweater with other fans or something about that, that drives it too? Right?

Lisa Neirotti  5:20 

Right, I'm suggesting that every stadium have a selfie post, you have to have that iconic location where you go and take a selfie and you want to share that with all your friends. And you know, it's kind of a status symbol then I was at this event or that event. But you know, technology also enhances that experience. So now with an app, you can tell the best way to get into the venue. Available parking spaces. They know where they can get their chili cheese fries or their salad. They know where the shortest bathrooms are. They can also watch multiple, different games at once. There's so many different things now available to the fan to make their experience better.

Tyler Suiters  6:15 

So watch a number of games at once and not just the one where you are. This brings to mind some of the bigger, innovative minds in sports. I think of Ted Leonsis, who's the owner of the Washington Capitals hockey team, the late Paul Allen, owner of the Seattle Seahawks Football Club, and also the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA. Maybe even Mark Cuban with the Dallas Mavericks who comes to your mind for being an owner or a driver of innovation in tech innovation in the in the fans experience?

Lisa Neirotti  6:45 

There's been talk for many years, every time a new venue is built, that they're going to put TV sets, you know individual TV sets in the seats for people to watch whatever they want to watch. I think budget reasons those have always not come to fruition. But one day, I think they will. What they're doing now is they're installing just mini screens all over the place. And those have any game possible on so and that's because people are, you know, fantasy football now is, you know, betting coming on. People are interested in following multiple sports events, not just the ones that are on the field.

Tyler Suiters  7:30 

So we here at CTA have talked about and researched the second screen experience and also down the third screen experience when you're watching any kind of content at home, right phone and iPads with you, your laptop, whatever it might be. Is that transitioning to the stadium and arena experience as well? And if so, are we expected to bring those screens ourselves or are more and more teams and venues incorporating that technology?

Lisa Neirotti  7:57 

Well, yes, it's both at home and industry. My recent visit I spent time observing, and I think more people were looking down at their phones and looking at you know, and again, they're there, I think for the overall experience, but they don't want to miss something that's happening elsewhere. So we're all kind of attached to our phones. And you know, it's important for those stadiums and arenas that do not have connectivity. So that's the number one emphasis that most venues are focusing on is how to make sure they have enough Wi-Fi capabilities. Because you know, if you're pushing everybody to an app or you want some in game contest, and they have to do it on their mobile, but they don't have connection, hard to do.

Tyler Suiters  8:51 

Can we step back for a second and this is a great conversation with Professor Neirotti at George Washington University. I'd like to talk to Lisa the long-time San Diego Chargers fan now I assume you're an LA Chargers fan as well. What are you excited to see your sports fan right you go or have gone for the game for the play for the competition, the thrill? What is getting you more excited about how and when you watch your favorite games?

Lisa Neirotti  9:18 

Well, if you're at home, I think, you know, it's that experience. I've tried the virtual reality. It's not what is good for me. I get dizzy, easy. I like augmented reality. I think that's, you know, fun. I'm just not sure that's the going to be the thing that's driving more people to watch sports or pay attention to sports. It's kind of a fun gimmick for a little bit and that's my own personal view. But I do think from a fan experience, you know, you have to have good quality play and you know, expansion leagues and you know, I'm worried for the MLS with the expansion leagues, are you going to have that good quality play? I think the new stadium that the Chargers are going to be at Los Angeles, right, right is going to be very entertainment focused. And you know, having lots of bells and whistles and things for people to do and selfie spots. So I think that's going to be exciting for their fan.

Tyler Suiters  10:28 

So you think that would it's a trend that was if not set certainly advanced, perhaps exponentially by the Dallas Cowboys newish Stadium right down in Texas.

Lisa Neirotti  10:40 

Well, it's been going on for many years. I mean, I remember 1996 when they converted the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta to the Braves state. Right. I mean they had like a kids area and they had you know, different entertainment facets. Now it's turning more like technology when the Nationals opened up, they had the PlayStation area. I'm not sure if you remember that, but they ended up not continuing with that and put a merchandise store there. But you know, there's, there's always

Tyler Suiters  10:48 

Oh the Turner Field, right. A little bit stronger revenue generation there.

Lisa Neirotti  11:16 

There's always been, you know, plays to enter technology or entertainment into these venues.

Tyler Suiters  11:23 

Ok, back to your professorship now and your expertise there. What is it about the new approaches to marketing and I'm paraphrasing your words that has you the most excited, and part of it is a younger fanbase. But what's the evolution that you see and the role technology plays?

Lisa Neirotti  11:42 

Well, with social media, there's just so many new ways and better ways to reach fans. I mean, there's millions of fans out there, but it was always hard to reach through direct mail or radio or TV. Now you personalize these messages and you know, if you know they're following John Wall, you can send them a message saying don't miss John Wall tonight buy your ticket here. So there's a lot more you can do to reach the fans, the way they want to be reached and where they are. Not, you know, guessing where they're going to see your ad.

Tyler Suiters  12:19 

Is the element of the quantified athlete the biometrics around the athletes that are actually performing a draw for fans and especially younger, newer fans.

Lisa Neirotti  12:32 

It can be especially the core fans, I always say that the stadium is filled with core fans and then those that are there for more the entertainment aspect. So I think for the core fan that's just going to continue to drive their interest. And when betting comes along, I think those biometrics are going to play you know, become more of an important aspect for those that are there for entertainment and core because those, non core fans could become more interested if they're betting. And it seems to me that more and more stadiums are going to have the opportunity to do either in game betting, or obviously, just betting on the game.

Tyler Suiters  13:19 

So perhaps the fastest growing area of the sports experience, professor, is Esports. Not just that it's a professional sport now that that where you can have a career, but that there is this phenomenal international fan base, right. Is this the brightest star in the tech and sports Confluence right now?

Lisa Neirotti  13:39 

Right. I've been teaching the business of Esports class for three years now. And it's been fascinating to watch the growth and to see how traditional sports are trying to grab, hold and integrate Esports so they can then expand their fan base. So I see in the future, perhaps Esports lounges inside stadiums and arenas where they could be playing Madden or NBA 2K or other more, you know, combat style games while the game is going on, so people can take a break, people can come in and out, you know, something they can do other than just watch the game. Millennials and others have short attention spans now. So they don't want to just sit and watch for three hours. They want to do other things. And so having Esports lounge and VR lounge, all of these add to the experience.

Tyler Suiters  13:46 

Do you see Esports potentially eclipsing soccer, and I think basketball is probably on that list to as the international sport the one sport that can draw an international base around a common league.

Lisa Neirotti  14:56 

If you look at numbers right now, Esports is there but it depends on how you dice and you know, slice and dice those numbers.

Tyler Suiters  15:05 

When you said numbers you're talking about streaming viewers, correct?

Lisa Neirotti  15:07 

Well, not so much streaming viewers, but people who are actually playing Esports but you know, again, then you have to look at the rec leagues and everything else and people playing, you know, soccer.

Tyler Suiters  15:18 

Yeah.

Lisa Neirotti  15:18 

So it's hard to say, but it's easy to watch Esports through Twitch and just YouTube, so and it's available around the world at anytime you want it. And so that's why the numbers are so high. And, you know, soon I see all sports taking place that way.

Tyler Suiters  15:42 

So, who comes out ahead? Maybe the at least the most so if that's the right way to phrase it, Professor with the implementation, deeper implementation of technology and sports? Is it athletes learning more about themselves, is it coaches learning more about their teams? Is it fans having a deeper experience?

Lisa Neirotti  16:03 

Well, it's all because technology reaches each one of those. I would say from a team and league perspective, it's interesting, because the technology that enhances the fan experience, again impacts those that go to the games, you know, it couldn't end. But if they make more money on live streaming and all of these other technologies, then maybe they don't need to rely so much on tickets. But then who wants to play in an empty stadium? So I think we still need to focus on how to enhance that experience in the stadium. To keep fans going.

Tyler Suiters  16:45 

I love that we have more questions than answers. That's a good sign, an innovative space. Dr. Lisa, Neirotti is professor of sports management at George Washington University. Professor great conversation. Thank you so much. Thank you. Can we ask you to have a few bars of super chargers?

Lisa Neirotti  17:03 

Super chargers, charge!

Tyler Suiters  17:04 

You did it! I wasn't expecting that, great! Doctor, thanks again. Dr. Ilan Hadar, is partner and CEO of HYPE and he is joining us today from Israel. Doctor, thank you for taking the time with us.

Ilan Hadar  17:24 

My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Tyler Suiters  17:26 

So I talked a bit about what HYPE is and explained it around the edges. But what is your elevator pitch so to speak, Doctor? Your day-to-day explanation of exactly where HYPE sits within the ecosystem of sports and technology.

Ilan Hadar  17:42 

Sure. Our mission is to inspire, develop an investing sports innovation ecosystem on a global basis. HYPE was founded a few years ago, four years ago. And we have created a tremendous ecosystem with more than 30,000 members, including 10,000 startups. And what we do, as we mentioned, the needs of the sports, the closest sports businesses, with the technology that we have under our fantastic network of startups.

Tyler Suiters  18:10 

So what exactly is technology's role in sports today, and it is nebulous, and it is evolving. And it is not singular by any means. But how do you begin to help the people who are in the sports world understand all the opportunities that technology presents?

Ilan Hadar  18:31 

The simplest way to define what technology is doing to the sports business is by having two segments, one of them is to increase the fan engagement and the other one, the other one is to increase the score, the athletes’ performance. So in-between those two spaces, technologies coming to, you know, our government, the way people consumed sport, and to have the athletes get better shape, recover faster, from injuries, and so on. These are the two pillars, which we see all our startup in all our ecosystem that we've all been around.

Tyler Suiters  19:16 

Let's begin with the fan experience then doctor and what that means. We've had numerous conversations of leading up to CES 2019, about the In-Home viewing experience for a fan. Smart venues and how the experiences evolving when you're at a game. And then of course, there's all the content and engagement opportunities when you're on the go neither at home, nor at a stadium. What has you most excited and where do you see the fan experience going from where it is today in the years ahead?

Ilan Hadar  19:54 

Let me try and picture from the future could be three or five years ago off the top NBA player on the stage, Stephen Curry standing on the line, one second to go and the end, the game is on the line. And he's about to win or lose the game. Now what you see today that you can only see the stats, you can you think you can be excited, but five years from now, I think that working related to be feeling in the game. And also of course the sun is at home is much more sensitive data from the athletes, for example, you could feel the heartbeat, the stress level, and so on. You could also take these and have interactive, you know, letting go or having some kind of people appease your friends about what you are sensing, you can have some kind of authority for people. And you have an augmented reality, you could be an Esports. Meanwhile, so everything is available today from technology standpoint, at the at the grassroot level, know what we need now for the next few years everything to emerge, and be able to provide it at home or in stadium. So the fans will interact and engage in how you say three, four, level higher than what we're doing today.

Tyler Suiters  21:16 

What are the ingredient technologies for that? augmented reality? virtual reality, 5G greater connectivity, what are the key technology, I'm speaking to you as a technologist, Dr. that need to be in place to take that experience where it needs to be?

Ilan Hadar  21:33 

Absolutely. So first, before you can all we can always rely on the most low. So we will be able to increase the computation level to be doubled every 18 months. So the data that we are gathering from the stadium will be enhanced and go on and multiply. So these could be streaming. So we'll get a better picture, a better sound out of the game. And everything is about fencing. So today sensors could be wearables, you could put, you know, audio sensors around the stadium, and you can see the drop of the every everything that's happening on the floor, you can you continue the coach, talk, or you could you could see the players and have their fatigue level. So these kinds of sensing is becoming you know, affordable. And not only that, we can work online to get those streamline offenses into the into the home. Now with respect to augmented reality, again, these technologies available, it's all about what will be the fan be able to pay in order to feel those new, I say reality from the game.

Tyler Suiters  22:56 

How closely connected is the fan experience then Dr. with athlete performance, because it seems that if not an exchange of data, at least access to that data is one element that will that will enhance our engagement, our enthusiasm, as well as our awareness when we're when we're watching a game or a match?

Ilan Hadar  23:18 

Absolutely, I think today, we made a big progress, people can now be more engaged because you have microphones and you have Angeles camera around the arena. But next step is to get some data from the players and from the deals. I know the confidentiality and regulation and all of these legal issues, but they are going to be equal to so much business money to be made using those technologies.

Tyler Suiters  23:48 

Dr. Ilan Hadar, is partner and CEO of HYPE and as we said, he's joining us from Israel. Doctor, we look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas for CES 2019.

Ilan Hadar  24:01 

I'll be there.

Tyler Suiters  24:04 

Alright, next time, we're addressing a pretty interesting statistic in 30 years, two thirds of us around the world will live in cities, urban settings, so we'd better be smart about it. That means more efficient energy use improved mobility, safer public spaces. All of this deals with smart cities technology. Maybe the best part is you're going to save time with smart cities.

Sameer Sharma  24:30 

So we instituted a study that basically came back with the data that if a smart city is implemented in the correct manner, an average citizen can save about 125 hours every year.

Tyler Suiters  24:43 

All right, we want you to be CES ready. So it's a good idea to subscribe to the CES Tech Talk podcast. You won't miss any of our episodes that way. And a reminder, CES 2019 is rapidly approaching January 8-11 in Las Vegas. All the info you need is at CES.tech, that’s CES.tech. As always, none of this is ever possible from week to week without our real stars: our producer Tina Anthony and our engineer John LindsEy. You guys are the best in the business. I’m Tyler Suiters. Let's talk tech again soon.

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