Cutting Edge Sport's Top 5 of 2019

23 Dec 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

It was a year of major events and campaigns, but it was also a year of innovation with new technology coming to the fore.

The Premier League may have debuted VAR, but video technology did not make the top five most-read stories in our Cutting Edge Sport section in 2019. Read on to find out what did. 

1 - Arsenal launch digital collectibles

Most-read this year was February’s news that Arsenal partnered with sports technology investor Fantastec to launch a blockchain-based digital trading cards platform.

The Fantastec SWAP platform used by the club uses blockchain technology to allow fans to discover, collect and swap officially licensed Arsenal collectibles through a free-to-download football game. 

2 - Immersive Wimbledon experience opens

April saw the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) launch a new immersive experience for fans ahead of Wimbledon, with a retro ‘Wimbledon Rematch 1980’ event taking a look back at a tournament from nearly 40 years ago.

The venture with newly-formed events production business Rematch focused on the headline-making events from that year’s memorable edition of Wimbledon, placing fans in a virtual time capsule to experience the retro tournament.

3 - Feel Drive delivers F1 first

Digital technology company HeadsUp teamed up with Teslasuit, Rokid and Lumus to create the first full-body, multi-sensory driving experience for Formula 1 fans in the F1 Paddock Club.

The Spanish Grand Prix in May played host to the debut of the experience, which was created using on-car camera feeds and telemetry data from Lewis Hamilton’s pole-position lap at the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix, where he set a track record with a time of 1:16.173.

4 - Gilbert and Sportable debut Rugby smart ball

RugbyX was one of the most eagerly-anticipated innovations of the year. Taking place at London’s O2 Arena in between the semi-finals and the final of the Rugby World Cup, the event debuted a new form or rugby.

It also debuted a new form of rugby ball, where manufacturer Gilbert and performance data company Sportable unveiled a smart ball which captured data from the event in real-time, including fastest ball carriers, the longest and fastest passes as well as spin rate and hang-time.

5 - Inside the first Consumer Electronics Show Sports Zone

Sneaking into this year’s top five was a look inside the Consumer Electronics Show’s first dedicated Sports Zone.

Fuse Strategy Director Jonathan Drakes, who co-authored the agency's Merge Sport book, was among those in attendance at the global tech showcase and penned an article on what he considered to be the three main lessons for brands.