Sports Business and Digitalization: How Sports Brands Benefit

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Digital transformation is changing the sports business and is already an integral part of the ISPO network with ISPO Digitize. Whoever acts entrepreneurially creative and somewhat visionary can profit from this without expensive developments or profound agitations of their own business model. Ortovox and ABS are two examples that already profit from digitalization.

More and more people are using modern safety equipment.
More and more people are using modern safety equipment.

The mountaineering equipment supplier Ortovox and the avalanche airbag manufacturer ABS show how digitalization can help to strengthen the brand or increase the benefit of their own products without having to completely rethink their own business model.

Ortovox will be celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, and could therefore be called one of the traditional mountain sports supplier. However, traditional companies in particular are often accused of losing flexibility and innovative strength over the years and thus not being able to react adequately to market or even social changes such as the digital transformation. At the Ortovox headquarters south of Munich, this accusation seems to bounce off.

At Ortovox, the balancing act between a sustainable and nature-oriented mountaineering supplier and a modern and contemporary company is accomplished. This can not only be seen in the interactive Safety Academy Lab online learning programs for alpine climbers or skiers and snowboarders, but above all in the Ortovox Mountain Tour App.

Ortovox Relies on Partners and Community

The mountain tour app is such a good example because it is an extremely useful tool and fits the brand core. However, the app has little in common with the actual product portfolio, namely mountain clothing. After all, Ortovox is not a software company, yet security in the mountains is an important part of the company's DNA.

Furthermore, Ortovox was far-sighted enough not to develop the app from scratch. The company, however, has chosen suitable partners and the community at the same time. A path that is also open to other companies and institutions: The most important mountain tour app partner Outdooractive offers an individualized white label solution.

The service provides the entire digital map and tour material and is also responsible for app programming. The map material is also used by the German, Austrian and South Tyrolean Alpine Association.

Sicher auf den Gipfel kommen und auch wieder runter – die Ortovox Bergtouren App hilft bei der Gefahrenbeurteilung bei Skitouren.
Arriving at and returning safely from the summit - the Ortovox mountaineering app helps to evaluate dangers on ski tours.
Image credit:
Ortovox / Andreas Vigl

App as a Tool for Customer Acquisition

A great advantage of digitalization is the possibility of virtually limitless capture, complex processing and real-time provision of data. A motivated community is an additional benefit in several respects - it delivers and disseminates content, gives feedback and at the same time meets the potential customer target group relatively free of scatter loss. Outdooractive has brought all this into the mountain tour app. This would never have been possible for Ortovox alone.

In addition to the constantly growing tour database, Ortovox has integrated practical tools that increase safety in the mountains and give the app a unique selling point. The result is a useful digital product that not only contributes to customer loyalty, but also introduces new customers to Ortovox and its traditional product range.

ABS: Cooperation with Protegear

ABS, the specialist for avalanche airbag backpacks, also relies on partners for the digitalization of its products. Based on the P.RIDE system with standard partner release, the start-up Protegear has worked on an extremely useful connection to their innovative emergency call system A*LIVE. ABS has thus sought an existing digital solution in order to upgrade its own product without great development effort and to stand out from the market competitors.

In avalanche accidents, a few minutes are decisive about life and death. Time is one of the critical factors, which is why the two companies jointly sought a solution for simultaneous airbag deployment and targeted notification of professional rescue workers.

If the airbag is triggered by the rider or a touring partner during an avalanche, A*LIVE automatically makes an emergency call with exact position information, which leads to a faster arrival of the mountain rescue. ABS, this collaboration provides a decisive additional product benefit that would have cost a lot of time and money to develop in-house.

Dank Kopplung des ABS P.RIDE Lawinenairbags mit dem A*LIVE Notrufsystem mit Crash-Detector und Totmannschaltung ist eine schnellere Bergung bei Unfällen möglich.
Thanks to the interconnection of the ABS P.RIDE avalanche airbag and the A*LIVE emergency system with a crash detector, it is possible to be rescued faster in case of an emergency.
Image credit:

The examples from the field of mountaineering safety show: in order to be able to use the possibilities of digital transformation, one must not only know and understand the new options, but also the new players, start-ups and lateral thinkers inside and outside the sports business.

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