The Sports & Entertainment Technology Club recently organized, together with Flanders Investment & Trade, a plug-in session on 'Sports technology in Australia.' Luca Bottallo, economic representative of Flanders in Melbourne, gave a presentation of the vast ecosystem around the country's various sports, sports infrastructure and facilities, technology and support services.

Sport is an important part of Australian culture: in economic terms, it accounts for  2% to 3% of GNP. The total economic value (both direct and indirect) of the sector is estimated at USD 50 billion. Sports such as Australian Football (AFL), the National Rugby League (NRL) and Cricket Australia play a major role in this. "The Australian sports industry also wants to evolve rapidly on the technology front according to the Australian Sports Commission's 2024 Sportstech Vision," explains Luca Botallo.

The sports tech adoption rate is already relatively high in Australia: 39% of the adult population use some form of technology while working out, 17% use apps to monitor their daily activity or sports training and 14% use portable technology for heart monitoring. There are still great opportunities for Belgian companies to seize, Mr Botallo says: "There is currently a plethora of products such as activity bands for smartwatches and clip-on trackers on the Australian market. But there is still a lack of tracker technology that can be woven into clothing, implemented in shoes or applied to the athlete's skin".

Another characteristic element of Australian sports technology has to do with data: "We're seeing a rapid revolution in sports analytics in all professional sports in Australia. In sports such as the NRL and AFL, data analysis companies first predict the performance of each individual player, based on hundreds of algorithmic factors for each sport. These data are  then used to perform match simulations. The AFL is known as one of the most data-rich sports, with as many as 5,000 data elements captured during each match".

Finally, the entire sports experience is going digital. For one, sports stadiums and teams offer personalized digital experiences, such as stadium apps and real-time game information on digital boards to increase fan involvement.  Furthermore, 'e-sports' are developing into an increasingly booming business. There are already some 1.8 million e-sports fans in Australia who tune into major e-sports tournaments regularly via online streaming. In addition, there are e-sports arenas in cinemas (joint project by and between Gfinity Esports Australia and the Hoyts cinema chain) and also a high-performance e-sports centre on the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Keen to find out more about opportunities in Australian sports technology and infrastructure?
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