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A TECHNOLOGY’S “SLINGSHOT” MOMENT happens when it bursts from the domain of the very few into mass-market application. Throughout this report, we’ll highlight seven technologies on the verge of slingshotting and discuss how they’ll change the sports landscape. Look for the icons in the pages ahead.

  • Artificial Intelligence
    • Artificial intelligence subcategories machine learning and deep learning will process vast data streams to enhance coaches’ game strategies and real-time decision making.
    • The NBA is embracing the early stages of artificial intelligence in the form of advanced analytics based on human-built models.
    • The next two steps—play calling and game scenarios—will be simulated by active, independent decision-making AI models, and the powerful analytics models will be self-evolving using machine learning.
    • As low-cost gene sequencing goes mainstream, teams will build genetic performance profiles to personalize each player’s nutrition and fitness protocols.
    • Pathogen transfer in stadiums is inevitable—70,000 people cheering, eating and drinking in close proximity is a playbook for catching the fall flu. Virus-hunting nanobots, applied via an inert spray at the entry and exit gates, would return fans home with fewer germs than when they arrived.
    • 3D printing and manufacturing will drastically reshape the sports supply chain.
    • Additive manufacturing like 3D printing will unlock trillions of dollars in positive impact if just 1 of 10 parts in a product are made locally.
    • Better products will be designed more quickly and delivered in near real time.
    • In-stadium 3D printing allows teams to personalize memorabilia for fans, while commercial printing makes highly personalized player equipment design and manufacturing possible.
    • By 2020, 7 billion people will be connected to the internet, representing several billion new sports fans joining the global marketplace for the first time.
    • 5th-generation wireless coverage gives the world untethered connectivity at speeds necessary for streaming immersive virtual reality at 60 frames per second.
    • Augmented reality: The world becomes an infinite display, allowing teams and fans to access and use new forms of visual data during practice and games.
    • Layered data and visuals will immensely enhance fans’ live viewing experience, with the availability of instant information and statistics about each moment and each player on the field.
    • Virtual reality: In-stadium panoramic camera systems will create fully immersive sensations of the games for watching in full VR.
    • Social VR will lead to widespread adoption of the technology, allowing fans to routinely meet up in virtual spaces to watch games.
    • Sensors are proliferating in jerseys, athletic wear and equipment, creating exponentially growing data sets for AI systems to process, granting unpre- cedented insights into performance—and providing a never-ending stream of micro-outcomes for sports bettors to wager on.
    • Infrared and LIDAR blasters built into every smartphone will serve as depth sensors to create 3D maps of every space in the “real” world, allowing content-rich VR and AR overlays to flourish.
    • Will blockchain systems replace the banking industry? Too soon to say.
    • Blockchain enables fluid, dynamic contracts that will radically change the way players, teams, leagues and arenas structure their working relationships.
    • Blockchain-powered digital rights management can track every mashed-up highlight clip through its reuse, making sure the original rights holders get paid while allowing them to share the wealth with fan-producers who remix and popularize the content.
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