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Sport and the Digital Revolution

Outdooria Team has attended an event last weeks called “Sport & Digital Revolution” at the Lausanne University (UNIL).

Here are some punchy and crunchy details of this well-organized event. The main speaker, Patrick Baumann, president of FIBA, has opened several doors for us regarding the future of the sport and its governance. With energy, humor and cleverness he has shared to the audience his beliefs and experiences regarding the sport industry.

First tip: “to look at the future we need to be aware of what happened in the past”.

Sport as we know it today has been created a bit more than a century ago. The Sport has already evolved a lot in term of regulation, technologies, number of countries participating, gender equity and many other fields.

The evolution we have seen so far came from reactions to events that have impacted the common mind. The scandals (doping, corruption, cheating…) and the evolution of the technology (equipment, time measurement, control) are the two main factors that have helped the sport governance to change.

Every time a scandal is known in the media, the sport governance must react to keep the credibility toward the stakeholders. Those days the sport federations are facing a lot of trouble in term of image and criticism from the people and from the athletes themselves.

“Sport is often the mirror of what we have in the society”

The media have the power to put light on some scandals but also have the possibility to generate a change in the sport practice. The digital revolution has already begun. The transparency brought by the digital information is pushing every day all the federation to change.

On the technological level Germany have decided last year to be proactive and to declare e-sport as an official sport. This will have a big impact on the way people see sport and e-sport, described the speaker. Online gaming is touching millions of people, when most people could agree that it would make sense to integrate e-sport like tennis, soccer or Hockey to our definition of sport. What is the opinion regarding e-games involving weapons?

Indeed, the development of the augmented reality and virtual reality have the potential to change considerably the sport governance and the sports itself.

Should the federation encourage this change and be part of it or should the sport organization protect the roots and history of their sport?

When a change is touching the historical value and roots of an organization, the opinions usually diverge. Sport is an important part of our culture. So far it has been based on volunteering, with the wish to share the passion to the largest part of the population.

Equality, accessibility and integrity: Those words are share by the most sport federation in Europe. Patrick Bauman has also said that keeping the DNA of the sport value in Europe is one important role for those organizations.

But the outside forces pushed the federation to change, for more transparency, for more adaptation to the technology and more professionalism. Let’s finish this report by a citation of Patrick Baumann.

“Sport will always stay but the future is now and change has already started”.

Which raise a couple of question we would be glad to debate with you :

  • Where are the border to declare a e-game eligible to sport?

  • Should the federations try to integrate e-sport in their organization or let others stakeholders, like EA Sport, lead the party?

  • We have somehow to accept that Sport will always evolved, but what are the elements we are not willing to give up?

  • Which are the reason that will still make us love sport in 50 years?

  • And finally, according to you what will be the most unexpected change in sport within the next decades?


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