The 2020 Sports Technology Awards concluded in September, presenting over 14 organizations with awards related to tech-led innovation in sports. Categories covered a range of accomplishments, showcasing technology in a variety of sectors. In the sports betting business, Colossus’s Syndicates “crowdbetting” took Best Technology for Sports Betting. In the trade of sports medicine, Keytree and Sports & Wellbeing Analytics was awarded Best Technology for Injury Prevention or Rehabilitation for their PROTECHT Intelligent Mouthguard.
Formula 1 was counted as one of the biggest winners during the virtual ceremony after being awarded in two separate categories. Attendees were mostly industry heads and figures from sports federations, reaching roughly a thousand viewers during the worldwide stream.
Taking Home the Trophies
The first award Formula 1 managed to secure was in partnership with Goodman, winning Best Technology for Sports Commerce. F1 Fan Voice, an online community where fans are encouraged to contribute and give feedback, is the site that helped them win the award.
For their second victory, Formula One Digital Media took home the title for Best Use of Esports by a Sports Brand thanks to the Formula 1 Esports Series. Entertainment industries historically have a difficult time reaching youth demographics with traditional sports, online casino and slots, and sports betting. So the award is well earned: the F1 Esports programme is a key part of the organization’s strategy for bridging the gap to a younger generation of fans.
Giving Fans a Voice
Introduced in 2018, forums, surveys, polls, and blogs are all available on the site for fans of the sport to have input and for Formula 1 to gain research insight directly. At the time of the site’s opening, Formula 1 Research Director, Matt Roberts, said, “It’s an exciting era for Formula 1 and as the sport continues to grow and evolve, we’re committed to ensuring that we’re listening to our fans and meeting their needs. […] As Ross Brawn wrote in his welcome message, ‘Fans thoughts and feedback are more important than anything else within the Formula 1 community. Without the fans, Formula 1 simply would not exist.’”
Arcades to Championships
Formula 1 has always had a place in video games , first appearing in arcades as early as the 1970s and going on to release games for home PC and console. In 2017 the Esports Series was brought to life with over 60,000 gamers participating in the inaugural series, and in 2018 the first Formula 1 full eSports season played out. Every year since its conception, the Esports programme has pushed to introduce new and entertaining concepts. Even with the complications of coronavirus, 2020 saw the hosting of the first “Virtual Grand Prix” in place of the 2020 Formula One World Championship.
Although Formula 1 set the bar high, managing to seize two honors, there were many other
innovations awarded at the virtual ceremony. Here are the rest of the winners from the 2020 Sports
– Best Technology for Fan Engagement: Singular.live
– Best Digital Technology: Xperiel
– Rights Holder or Governing Body of the Year: World Athletics
– Best Technology for Elite Performance: Sportlogiq
– Most Innovative Sports Partnership: ASICS and iRewind
– Best Technology for Participation: Pitchero
– Best Sports Equipment or Wearable Technology: PlayerMaker
– Most Innovative Sports Broadcast or Broadcast Technology: Sunset+Vine
– Agency of the Year: Delete
– Most Innovative Sports App: Spond
– Capgemini Innovation of the Year: Genius Sports
Preparing for Next Year
The Sports Technology Awards are already taking entries for the 2021 award season and there’s certain to be stiff competition for the following year. The shortlist this year for the Best Use of Esports by a Sports Brand included contenders like Dorna Sports and a partnership between NBA and Take-Two Interactive. Qualifiers for next year’s categories will have big expectations to fill–and probably just the tech to surpass them!