Digital Disruption, Esports, and the Mixed Reality Fan Experience: Sports Track Sessions at SXSW 2018

The Sports Track is back for SXSW 2018 and finds itself in some new digs tackling the future of sport from a cultural and technological perspective. Explore how the sports industry has transformed and will continue to change with our session highlights below.

“Just a few years ago, the concept of esports raised eyebrows when it aired on ESPN 2,” says SXSW Programmer Meaghan Herrmann. “Since then it has gone mainstream, estimating half a billion in revenue and drawing the attention of some of our favorite NBA teams. Through strategic partnerships, esports and traditional sports organizations can unite forces to not only grow their own fan base but drive the future of the sports industry as a whole.”

Dive deeper into the increasingly popular world of esports and learn more about technology transforming the global sports industry as we highlight sessions that discuss data-driven fan engagement, the benefits of user-generated content, and virtual reality and augmented reality technology for both fans and athletes from March 9- March 11 during SXSW Convergence programming. SXSW Convergence programming features a range of topics that straddle the cultural and technological intersection at the heart of SXSW with primary access granted to all SXSW Badges.

Sports Session Highlights

The Connected Future of Sports and Esports

Speakers: Macy Mills (GameInfluencer), Kent Wakeford (KSV esports), Andrew Paradise (Skillz), and Alexander Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks)

By 2020, esports will reach $5 billion and have more fans than basketball. As esports grow toward competitive dominance, traditional sports organizations are throwing their hats in the ring – but how can both entities combine their efforts to grow the sports industry as a whole? Through discourse between NBA, Overwatch League, and mobile esports leaders, this session will explore how esports and traditional sports visionaries can unite forces to dictate the future of this powerful industry.

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How to Create a Mixed Reality Fan Experience

Speakers: Jonathan Lowe (LA Kings / AEG Sports), Jay Kapoor (Madison Square Garden Ventures), David Feldman (NFL), and Ashley Crowder (VNTANA)

Fans want to be a part of the experience, which demands the latest in technology. Sports venues, teams, and partners are designing innovative in-game experiences to cater to this demand. Experts from NFL, AEG, MSG and leading AR brands will discuss new ways to interact with fans. They will guide attendees through situational cases including details on technology solutions that offer not only engagement but data. Additionally, they will discuss the benefits of user-generated content.

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Beyond the Game: Data-Driven Fan Engagement

Speakers: Peter Heneghan (LADbible Group), Andrew Diggle (Manchester United Football Club), and Caroline Barker (BBC)

With over half of the world’s population identifying themselves as sports fans, clubs and teams are investing in new ways to engage with their fans 24/7. Data is enabling sports clubs and teams to provide relevant content to their fans across the globe, from VR to live streams. But how do sports teams cut through all the noise in a crowded market to interact with and develop their fan base? We’ll explore how data can be used to predict and meet the needs of the always-on fan.

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The Death of Amateurism

Speakers: Kavitha Davidson (ESPN), Patrick Hruby (Vice), Ray Jackson (Rise Up Inc), and Andy Schwarz (Historical Basketball League)

A defining premise of the NCAA is that amateurism—that athletes are unpaid students—is an essential part of the appeal of college athletics. The upstart Historical Basketball League seeks to challenge that notion simply by paying players. Revenues generated by college sports are in the billions of dollars, shouldn’t the labor producing all that value be paid for it?

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Browse All Sports Sessions

Crossover Track Recommendations

Looking to level up within the esports industry during your time at SXSW? Explore SXSW Gaming programming dedicated to esports. All SXSW Badges can access SXSW Gaming programming and events.

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Teaser Photo by Jon Currie

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