AR/VR, Metavers, Women’s sports –

Today’s guest columnist is Meredith McPherron, CEO and Managing Partner of Drive by DraftKings.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and over the past two years during the coronavirus pandemic, we have witnessed the adoption of long-awaited technologies in sports and entertainment technology that have changed the way we to play, play and connect with each other.

Record venture capital funding is pouring into the market, supporting both emerging and fast-growing disruptive new companies. According to the recent SportsTechX VC Report 2021, a record $8.3 billion was invested globally in sports tech through September, and $12.7 billion was expected by the end of the year. year. That’s more than the previous two years combined. Eleven sports tech unicorns have also emerged in 2021 from around the world, sparking a growing appetite for venture capital funding to support a sector that is clearly becoming mainstream.

Their framework complements our thematic focus on human performance, media and fan engagement, and sports and gaming solutions. When you also include igaming, mobile games, esports, the metaverse, and related blockchain technology, the addressable market and funding space is even more important.

As entrepreneurs and investors seek to develop and fund new ventures in dynamic, high-growth markets, here are four sports tech trends we’re watching in 2022:

Expanding our universe with the metaverse

NFTs were the breakout sports tech trend of 2021, and the metaverse will define 2022. a matter of time, certain aspects of the metaverse cross our daily lives as we lean towards a more hybrid and synthetic reality through games, glasses and headsets.

Meta (formerly Facebook) hopes to be at the forefront of this movement, with the Metaverse market and its possibilities as vast as the potential Metaverse itself. Morgan Stanley estimates the Metaverse will be an $8 trillion market if it succeeds as a “next-gen social media, streaming and gaming platform”, Epyllion CEO Matthew Ball says could be worth up to $30 trillion over the next 15 years.

The coronavirus pandemic has amplified our reliance on technology, allowing us to stay connected despite our physical distancing. Regardless of what lies ahead with the pandemic, expect more 3D and mixed reality interactions to continue into 2022 and beyond.

Look at the popularity of platforms like Roblox, which has up to 47 million daily active users after seeing DAUs soar 85% in 2020, compared to the previous year. The Metaverse has the appeal of the next gold rush for developers, brands, musicians, and everyone between jockeys for eyeballs, especially among young demos, given that more than 50% of Roblox users are under the age of 13.

Seeing is believing with AR/VR

Augmented reality and virtual reality are like the shiny new toys you got for your birthday a few years ago and haven’t really spent the time learning how to use.

AR/VR emerged about five years ago as the next best thing, but lacked practical uses in the consumer market. Since then, technology and society have caught up with AR/VR, and we’re seeing more realistic applications in games, training and on-the-spot experiences in sports, and fan engagement.

If the highly anticipated Apple Glasses and Mixed Reality Headset are introduced in 2022, we’ll likely see a significant shift in adoption. The increased attention developers are giving to the metaverse may also lead to further adaptation and use of augmented reality/virtual reality.

Fueling personalization with intelligent data

Data is the lifeblood of everything we do, pumping behind the scenes to make experiences more personalized, relevant and interactive. Artificial intelligence and machine learning applications in sports technology and entertainment will enhance gaming, fantasy and sports betting experiences and provide greater utility to health and fitness and a array of fan engagement apps. The smartest company will anticipate and deliver what we want and need, and help guide our decisions in everything from personal health and well-being to e-commerce, connectivity, gaming and performance.

My sports betting experience differs from yours, so having the technical skill to collect, analyze and act on this data is necessary to move forward. Although this is easier said than done, companies are investing more time, money and resources to make it a priority.

Much like the use and applications of AR/VR, how and when to harness AI and machine learning in a variety of industries will continue into the next year and beyond.

It’s game time for women’s sport

This past year has shown us that prime time is finally ready for our female athletes.

The 2021 WNBA Finals saw a 60% increase in viewership over 2020 and was the league’s most-watched since 2017. Viewership for last year’s NWSL Championship grew 216% from compared to the 2019 final, making it the most-watched title game in the league.

Seeing the WNBA and NWSL end their recent campaigns with record viewership is a testament to the tireless work done on and off the field by players, leagues, organizations, sponsors, broadcasters and media to level the playing field. .

The rise of outlets specific to women’s sports, including Just Women’s Sports, HighlightHER and On Her Turf, shines a light on these incredible athletes, while continuing to fill the void in the market, where only 4% of media coverage was dedicated to women’s sports when women accounted for 40 years. % of all sport participants.

Even the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics has resulted in record coverage and ratings for women’s sporting events in the United States and Canada.

The market is rapidly changing in sports and entertainment technology, and huge innovations are on the way. Questions about the sustainability of many of the new ventures are fair and will require the normal discipline and diligence of solid investors to resolve. But you can bet 2022 will be another year of breakthrough innovation.

Drive by DraftKings is a multi-stage venture capital firm investing in sports technology and entertainment. The Seed-Driven Company announcement its $60 million Venture Fund I on October 20, 2021.