5 Can’t Miss SXSW Sports Panels on the Fan Experience

Every year, SXSW takes over Austin, bringing together voices from film, music, technology, interactive media and more. In recent years, sports has emerged as a hot track, bolstered this year by increased interest around sports technology both by athletes and tech firms, last seen at CES.

With dozens of panels over the three days of #SXSWSports, we wanted to put the spotlight on five sessions we’re looking forward to around improving and optimizing the fan experience.

Kick off your time in Austin on 3/9 with Tacos and Talk featuring Circuit of the Americas, FloSports, MVPindex, and Umbel

Beyond the Game: Data-Driven Fan Engagement

March 9th, 11am-12pm

Caroline Barker (Presenter & Broadcaster, BBC)
Andy Burnham (Mayor, Greater Manchester)
Andrew Diggle (Head of Content, Programming & Productions, Manchester United Football Club)
Peter Heneghan (Head of Communications, LADbible)

Our first panel brings a UK perspective to a mostly American audience at SXSW, and they’re speaking our language: data. This discussion will come at fans from the perspective of the team, broadcast media, local government, and a social media and entertainment company. Teams, clubs, and their partners are investing in new and exciting ways to reach their fans, and this panel will cover not only how to cut through the noise to interact with fans, but how to predict and address their needs.

Panel Details

VR’s Implications in the Sports Industry

March 9th, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Derek Belch (Co-Founder & CEO, STRIVR)

SXSW is the intersection of music, technology, gaming, sports, film, and everything “interactive.” Virtual and Augmented reality continue to promise to transform that entire landscape, and this session will talk about concrete ways it can do so in sports.

While augmented reality has infiltrated many events, virtual reality hasn’t yet had the same impact. STRIVR’s Derek Belch will discuss the potential for embedding VR in the fan experience (as well as athletic training).

Panel Details

Embracing Technology to Super Serve Fans

March 10th, 9:30am-10:30am

Tim Clark (Managing Director, NASCAR Digital Media)
Rajan Mehta (Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, WWE)
Dan Hogan (General Manager, NFL Digital Media)

Of course, VR is just one technology. Organizations are using mobile ticketing, AI (in the form of image recognition or chatbots), social media, unprecedented targeting, and more to engage their fans. Executives from NASCAR, WWE (who made a big splash late 2017 at Leaders), and the NFL will cover the expansion of various technologies to meet the needs of fans. Expect a wide-ranging and lively discussion with three incredibly varied sports leagues and digital strategies.

Panel Details

How to Create a Mixed Reality Fan Experience

March 10th, 3:30pm-4:30pm

Ashley Crowder (CEO & Co-Founder, VNTANA)
David Feldman (Sr. Director of Social Content, NFL)
Jay Kapoor (Sr. Associate, MSG Ventures)
Jonathan Lowe (Sr. Vice President of Business Development & Brand Strategy, LA Kings /AEG Sports)

You didn’t expect just one panel on VR and AR on this list, did you? “How to Create a Mixed Reality Fan Experience” will mix up the discussion by featuring both the team/league side as well as technology companies. They’ll discuss how augmented reality and other in-game technologies help engage fans, leverage user-generated content, and collect new and relevant data.

Panel Details

The Connected Future of Sports and Esports

March 11th, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Alexander Lasry (Senior Vice President, Milwaukee Bucks)
Macy Mills (Head of Business Development, GameInfluencer)
Andrew Paradise (CEO & Founder, Skillz)
Kent Wakeford (Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, KSV eSports)

The last few years, people have been saying that “eSports is bigger than you think,” and poised to overtake traditional sports in the hearts of fans. Instead of competing, teams like FC Copenhagen, leagues like the NBA, and players are now investing in eSports. NBA, mobile eSports and Overwatch League leaders will use this session to explore how they can unite forces to grow the entire sports industry—and meet the needs of always-on fans.

Panel Details

Headed to Austin? Join us for rePower by Umbel and MVPindex at the historic Seaholm Power Plant featuring Tacos and Talk with a roundtable featuring Circuit of the Americas (Formula 1, MotoGP) and FloSports.

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