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Pico @ The Sports Tech Nation Summit 2019

Yaron Talpaz

Javier Sobrino, Barcelona FC’s Chief of Strategy & Innovation Officer, has been a frequent visitor of Tel Aviv in recent years to closely check out the latest and greatest trends in the ever-vibrant start-up nation. Most interesting to him, are the changes enhancing the globally growing community of Sports Tech. For us at Pico, we couldn’t have imagined that Sobrino himself would be behind two of the headliners coming out of the Sports Tech Nation 2019 Summit, organized by Colosseum.


“The X number of social media followers we have is useless,'' stated Sobrino during his key-note speech, detailing the challenges clubs are facing when dealing with fans in a digital space. “It’s important to the social networks, though, since we have to pay them to reach our own followers,” he continued before concluding with, “our next biggest match is not on the pitch, but in the databases.” 

From Pico’s perspective, Sobrino couldn’t have been more on point. That is what we have been preaching throughout the past 6 months to organizations all over the world. “Fan engagement is not your real problem since you’re doing it successfully,” said Asaf Nevo, CEO, and co-founder of Pico, during his conference presentation. “It’s about knowing who you’re engaging with. It’s about identifying over 90% of your fanbase that is currently online and unknown to you”.

Leading the SportsTech Revolution 

Conferences are a great opportunity to pick up new trends and exchange ideas while networking with individuals, old and new friends, from all corners of the world. They are also hugely important for the marketing, biz dev and sales side and this latest, busy conference was no different. We heard from sports tech leaders from as far as Australia, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. Among other attendees, were UEFA, FIFA, the DFL, the French League, Barcelona FC, Maccabi Tel Aviv BC, just to name a few.  

It’s not new that Israel is a big player in technology, especially Sports technology, proving that actually being good in sports is no longer a requirement to being a leader in the industry. 

During day two, successful Case Studies of Israeli start-ups were shared, from companies like Pixellot, WSC, LiveU, and Pico, with Nevo detailing the initial successes of a new partner such as the L.A. Clippers.

Two of the more interesting panel discussions were “Welcome to Tokyo 2020” and the “Impact of Global Sports tech leaders on the Sports Industry”. 

In the former panel, Hajime Yakushiji from Dentsu and the Japanese ambassador to Israel, got the audience hyped and excited for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. While Yael Arad, the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal, who is currently a member of Israel’s Olympic committee, explained how technology could have helped her even more, while stressing how Judo, her expertise, is still so much about one’s mental strength.

Lastly, Intel’s Ohad Gross, displayed on stage how fans will very soon begin to watch sports differently from every angle, including the players on the pitch, with their new volumetric features. Infront’s Head of Innovation, Damian Browarnik summed things up with 3 things he foresees evolving in the near future:

  • Fan experience
  • Fan Personalization
  • Fans believing they can become closer to athletes they admire

With wearable tech, such as smart-watches, even the most casual of runners can feel like the tech is impacting their performances, just like the pros. So, maybe Browarnik hit the nail right on the head with his last point. The revolution is upon us and this time, it’s not just for pro athletes.

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