The Sports Technology Conference kicked off at 12 noon as part of ISPO Munich Online. Here, everything revolved around digitalization of the sports industry and best practices from professional sports.
Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives & Esports Formula 1, explained how Formula 1 has opened up to eSports with its own official virtual racing series. "Formula 1's fan base is aging. We have been looking for new tools to address the younger target group in a language they understand. Gaming is that opportunity," Tan said.
Franco Segarra of Spanish first-division soccer club Valencia FC answered the question, "How can you innovate while staying true to your core, tradition and different types of fans?" One of the ways the soccer club is addressing this in its Innovation Hub is through collaborations with local tech startups that participate with their developments in areas such as performance tracking, scouting and injury prevention.
Stefan Ponikva, Vice President Brand Experience BMW Group, spoke about the digital ambitions of the carmaker, which has chosen an unconventional entry into eSports with a "Rebel Mindset" and the hashtag #UnitedinRivalry, completely avoiding the shooter genre. "The engagement rate of the eSports audience cannot be compared to any other industry," Ponikva said.
In the afternoon, the winners of the ISPO Award in the Snowsports segment were honored. Among the Gold Winners, the Ortovox Diract Voice secured the coveted title of ISPO Award Product of the Year in the Snowsports segment. The avalanche transceiver guides rescuers to buried victims via clear voice prompts. It guides users to their destination with clear instructions and is designed to speed up the search and rescue of buried victims
"With the new Diract Voice, we are now presenting yet another innovation that, with its simplicity and intuitive operation, provides even better support for finding buried victims as quickly as possible in an emergency. We are very pleased that the new development has been awarded Product of the Year and confirms that intensive development work has paid off," says Ortovox Managing Director Christian Schneidermeier.
The Products of the Year in the Running & Fitness and Outdoor segments will be selected on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, the ISPO Open Innovation Community will award an audience prize for the first time.
The Ortovox Diract Voice in detail
How has Corona changed retail? What does the retail of the future look like? Andreas Vogler, CEO of Globetrotter, sees the lockdown closures as an omnichannel accelerator: "We have to be where the consumers are. If a channel suddenly goes away, you still have to stay relevant. At the same time, customers want an effortless shopping experience. Above all, they like it uncomplicated."
Dr. Axel Rebien, CFO at payment provider Unzer, encourages retailers to get to know their customers even better. "The data jungle will continue to grow in the future. Retailers who can't handle that need a partner to support them, giving them the tools to grow."
Also offering a glimpse into the future of the sports industry was the Women Empowerment Panel by "Frauen verbinden". Here, Head of ISPO Dr. Jeanette Friedrich suggested that the quest for gender equality should be seen as cross-gender teamwork, and thus achieved together.
Because, as Anna Kopp, IT Director Germany and Regional Office Lead Munich HQ at Microsoft, pointed out, men can also benefit. "Many companies don't give men the same support as women when it comes to parental leave. This would also benefit women, who would be relieved in their private and would enable them to step up as well."
An action-packed conclusion to the second event day of ISPO Munich Online was provided by eSports in its most exciting form. Marcus Meyer (Force of Disruption) and host Dan Ram presented an eSports show with tournaments and exciting show matches in the basketball simulation NBA2K21, the soccer perennial FIFA, the spectacular Rocket League, and an eSailing tournament.
Before that, an exciting film of the European Championships Munich 2022 gave insights into the life of BMX talent Lara Lessmann.
Klaus Dittrich, CEO of Messe München, gave the starting signal for the event together with moderator Dan Ram and world long jump champion Malaika Mihambo.
"Welcome to ISPO Munich Online! Over the next five days, the sports business will come together virtually. Well over 100 international top speakers are joining us in our studio. In addition, over 500 exhibitors are present in their brandrooms," says Dittrich: "In these times of pandemic, we provide the sports and outdoor industry a platform to come together and work together. Because right now, the need for networking, change and business is greater than ever."
Malaika Mihambo, Germany's Sportswoman of the Year 2020, addressed an optimistic message to ISPO Munich Online attendees at the opening: "The crisis showed us how important it is to unite us all and stand in solidarity. Sport can help us to physically get stronger and to unite with people and get together - even with social distancing, since it's possible to do it with apps and a community."
More than 500 exhibitors will be presenting their new products 24 hours a day in the Expo Area until February 5.
The first major highlight there was the ISPO Brandnew Live Pitch for the title of Overall Winner as the most innovative startup of the year.
The ten startups selected as ISPO Brandnew Winner 2021 competed in the livestream for the title of ISPO Brandnew Overall Winner. Each startup had 90 seconds to convince the viewers in the voting.
In the end, the victory and thus the title of ISPO Brandnew Overall Winner went to West Kiteboarding. The start-up from Germany, founded in 2018, presented Klick.ma, a safe magnetic binding for kiteboarders. In the event of a fall, the board releases, minimizing the risk of injury.
"I have no words! This award encourages me in my passion to make boardsports safer. And the title is a great opportunity to go out and sell my boards," said a delighted CEO Felix Straub. Read more about it here.
In the conference area, futurologist Tristan Horx from the Zukunftsinstitut spoke in his Impulse Speech about the change in trends through Corona. His thesis: The future is not linear, but always ambivalent. (Mega-)trends provide a direction. Corona has an accelerating effect on social development and thus also on the impact of (mega) trends.
In total, ISPO Munich Online offers more than 180 workshops by exhibitors, presentations by industry experts and interdisciplinary discussion panels.
In the evening, things got festive: For the first time ever in the 50-year history of the trophy, everybody could watch the presentation of the ISPO Cup for special personalities of sports live during the "Hero of Sports Night".
The ISPO Cup 2021 was awarded to the Spanish world-class trail runner Kilian Jornet, who thus followed in the footsteps of great personalities of sports such as Pele, Reinhold Messner, Ole Einar Björndalen, or most recently Tegla Loroupe.
"For the ISPO Cup, we consider extraordinary athletes with outstanding achievements who also serve as role model with their social commitment," said Messe München CEO Klaus Dittrich during the digital award ceremony.
Qualities that are embodied by outdoor multi-talent Jornet. The Catalan, who now lives in Norway, is a three-time skyrunning and four-time ski mountaineering world champion and, as the initiator of the Kilian Jornet Foundation, is committed to preserving the mountain environment and sustainability.
"The best tool I can use to promote sustainability is to raise my voice to create awareness about the need of preserving mountains. That's also how I came to the conclusion that I want to start a foundation where I can use all my spare time and capacities," Jornet said at the award ceremony.
Afterwards, the film premiere of "Inside Kilian" provided exclusive insights into Jornet's life and his unique work in sports.