Digital transformation challenges Bundesliga clubs

As part of the series "Fußball im Wandel" ("Football in Transition") by Kicker Sportmagazin, Professor Schmidt has written a column in which he addresses the challenges that digital transformation poses for Bundesliga clubs.

Fußballer am Ball in futuristischer Umgebung

On the one hand, they have to deal with the latest technologies and evaluate whether it is even worth using them – and if so, in what way. On the other hand, the changed consumer behaviour requires clubs to question existing offers and structures and to reposition themselves for the future.

Technologies by themselves do not add value for a club. Only if existing pain points can be addressed or new markets opened up with the help of new technologies does their use make sense. With rapid technological development around artificial intelligence, blockchain or virtual and extended realities, club representatives can easily lose sight of their objectives and get swayed by the newness of the technologies. Accordingly, new technologies are often brought to clubs by manufacturers, agencies or young entrepreneurs. If a drone, for example, helps to improve training control, offers new perspectives for stadium safety or provides new content for communication and marketing, depends more on coincidence than on strategic decisions made by the club management.

Often these technological achievements find first access in the field of sports. In the Bundesliga, for example, it has already become standard for players' biometric data to be recorded using jersey sensors, fitness wristbands, and chest straps, then evaluated for training purposes. However, in order to keep a football club competitive in the long term, the use of new technologies is also necessary off the pitch. From a strategic point of view, it is not only necessary to decide how the game strategy, talent acquisition, and performance enhancement can be improved by new technical aids, but also which new technologies can generate value for the club off the pitch.

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