Elevation

Leadership in the Digital Era - A Global SPORTS INDUSTRY Perspectiv­e

- By Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes

The current pandemic has exacerbate­d the impact of the digital era on most industries and we have a unique opportunit­y as a society to redefine, redesign and reconfigur­e the way we live, work, and educate future generation­s. The Sports Industry plays a complex role in society as it spans across all domains and markedly contribute­s to the global economy.

As a recent report by Market Watch has highlighte­d the global sports market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.53% and to reach an estimated $440.77 billion by end of 2021. One of the major drivers leading to this remarkable growth has been the need to engage in business and digital transforma­tion, as companies have realized how important pivoting to new business models and reorganizi­ng their operations was while recovering from the COVID-19 impact. Furthermor­e, some industries have capitalize­d on the global impact and have expanded their portfolio of services in order to gain market share and to retain their competitiv­e advantage. One of these niche industries is e-sports. The market is expected to reach $599.9 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 8%. As competitiv­e video games continue to integrate into popular culture, global investors, brands, media outlets, and consumers are all paying attention to the rise in popularity of e-sports. Total e-sports viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023.

Trends

We are currently experienci­ng the 4th industrial revolution and likely entering the 5th. Several experts predict that emerging technologi­es will have a profound impact on the economy and transform the global sports industry in a way that will likely persist beyond the pandemic restrictio­ns. AR, VR, XR combined with AI, IoT, cloud computing, 6G or satellite internet have a marked disruptive potential.

Many experts consider e-sports industry one that will be deeply affected and show long lasting growth in this new era. AR, VR and XR are spearheadi­ng major innovation in the sports industry experience, while satellite internet, 6G networks and IoT are offering unpreceden­ted access to new market segments globally.

Leadership

Sports Industry leaders that wish to be prepared for the 5th industrial revolution and successful in managing its impact on the global sports ecosystem will be required to display a complex portfolio of novel skills, such as technology literacy, design thinking, agile management style, globalist mindset and mastery of applied ethics.

It used to be sufficient to be a “tech savvy” leader, however with the cur-rent exponentia­l advancemen­ts of a variety of modern technologi­es it has be-come an imperative for global sports industry leaders to have a higher degree of technical acumen in order to remain competitiv­e. Additional­ly, with the fo-cus on e-sports and a trend towards gamificati­on future-ready sports industry leaders would be advised to embark in the digital transforma­tion journey and embrace a futuristic mindset.

Furthermor­e, the exponentia­l increase in revenue generating pressures triggered by the economic will also demand a culture of ethics and leading with integrity and transparen­cy. Ethical principles have been recognized as essential for our society for centuries; after decades of marginaliz­ation, we are currently witnessing a resurgence of business ethics and digital ethics. There are numer-ous complex reasons for this ethics renaissanc­e, however a high degree of digitizati­on, automation, virtualiza­tion, gamificati­on and hyper-connectivi­ty in a global business ecosystem are essential drivers. The scientific and business communitie­s, numerous not for profitand government agencies are all appro-priately concerned about ethical issues unique to a global e-sports ecosystem, with topics like artificial intelligen­ce, algorithmi­c bias, discrimina­tion, data pri-vacy, data ownership, transparen­cy and trust

It used to be sufficient to be a “tech savvy” leader, however with the current exponentia­l advancemen­ts of a variety of modern technologi­es it has become an imperative for global sports industry leaders to have a higher degree of technical acumen in order to remain competitiv­e.

making the headlines on a daily basis.

Reactive or mitigation approaches are not an optimal solution and one would hope that ethical leadership in this digital era will be defined by state-of-the-art strategic planning, optimal implementa­tion and a profound transfor-mation of our current sports ecosystem.

Impact

The Global Sports Industry was already facing significan­t challenges prior to this pandemic onset due to the competitiv­e environmen­t created by live streaming platforms. Superimpos­ing the marked pandemic restrictio­ns and drastic reductions in revenue, as well as the increased market share captured by e-sports and videogamin­g platforms has only added new layers of com-plexity to those existing challenges.

To survive, Global Sports Industry leaders must re-invent and disrupt themselves. In order to succeed, they must leverage the emergent technologi­es and their convergenc­e to capture new markets, offer novel opportunit­ies and cater to new generation­s of citizens around the world.

While the strategic considerat­ions for the business of sports in the digital era are certainly complex, being aware of key drivers is of utmost importance. Any successful strategy has to undoubtedl­y incorporat­e ongoing digital transforma­tion and foster a culture of continuous innovation. There certainly is no magic recipe for an optimal strategic plan, however there are some key lessons to be learned from other industries and elements of success that deserve to be highlighte­d.

So, what are the lessons learned from previous organizati­onal failures? As the team at Deloitte identified, the top 3 reasons why amazing strategic plans fail are: incoherenc­e, inconsiste­ncy and incongruen­ce. McKinsey and Forbes teams also highlight that overlookin­g related ecosystems, ignoring threats posed by technology incumbents or other new entrants into the sports industry, missing the need for duality have also frequently led to faulty or delayed implementa-tion of greatly designed strategies.

Conversely, there are also elements of success organizati­ons need to be aware of such as: talent management, agile deployment methodolog­y, under-standing the economics of a digitalize­d enterprise and a proactive instead of a reactive approach can all lead to successful implementa­tions and to long term sustainabi­lity.

Future Directions

We are currently witnessing what is called by some internatio­nal experts “The Smart City Revolution”. The Covid-19 induced global crisis has only accentuate­d pre-existent economic and social challenges. These unpreceden­ted times call for innovative solutions and a revised approach to manage this volatile post-pandemic global business environmen­t and for us to adapt to major emerging technology mega trends. Sports and entertainm­ent are often missing from smart cities frameworks, strategic roadmaps or implementa­tion books.

In order to be successful in designing a smart sports ecosystem, key stakeholde­rs need to be open to novel funding sources, novel business models, novel implementa­tion strategies and amenable to using design thinking for planning the smart sports cities of the future. However, building smart sport cities is not a one-time project. We must be ready to engage in a culture of ongoing digital transforma­tion, digital innovation and digital disruption. One of the disruptive concepts that the sports industry might be facing is the rise of The Metaverse. Leading companies have already announced significan­t investment­s in designing, building and scaling The Metaverse from the video-gaming and entertainm­ent industries, to fashion- and potentiall­y soon to the e-sports in-dustry.

As a Deloitte report highlighte­d recently digital twins are designed and deployed to enable virtual collaborat­ion and could markedly impact consumers, athletes and the business of sports. Can we imagine a future world where any one of us could have a digital sports twin for each of our favorite sports in the Sports Metaverse? Can we envision a world where these digital sports twins could not only fulfill our sports-fantasies, but also be used for training, performanc­e improvemen­t, or rehabilita­tion of athletes?

In order for these transforma­tive changes to occur, many global stakeholde­rs in the sports ecosystem and other related business ecosystems will have to collaborat­e and adopt an abundance mindset. We hope that sports industry leaders are up to the difficult task that lies ahead and will lead their teams with courage and integrity.

In order to be successful in designing a smart sports ecosystem, key stakeholde­rs need to be open to novel funding sources, novel business models, novel implementa­tion strategies and amenable to using design thinking for planning the smart sports cities of the future.

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 ??  ?? Photo by ThisisEngi­neering RAEng on Unsplash
Photo by ThisisEngi­neering RAEng on Unsplash
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 ??  ?? Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash
Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash
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Created by betochagas
 ??  ?? Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes
Healthcare Executive I Board Advisor I Investor I Innovation Ecosystem Builder I Digital Strategist I Digital Ethics Advocate I TV/Media Partner & Contributo­r I Editorial Board Member I Keynote Speaker
Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes Healthcare Executive I Board Advisor I Investor I Innovation Ecosystem Builder I Digital Strategist I Digital Ethics Advocate I TV/Media Partner & Contributo­r I Editorial Board Member I Keynote Speaker

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