The Birth of an Industry

Last week Matteo Masucci and I were privileged to take part in the inaugural World Virtual and Augmented Reality Sport Innovation Summit in San Francisco. I’ve been to many conferences with thousands of participants, but there were fewer than 200 pioneers that participated here. Senior executives from the broadcast world, all major sports leagues, content and platform creators and major brands shared stories and thoughts on their early experiences and first steps into leveraging VR and AR to engage fans, tell stories and elevate the game.

The consensus among these industry leaders was that although it is early, VR experiences are delivering engagement levels 3x-4x that of more traditional media. VR is particularly strong in expanding the experience outside of the venue, while AR will enhance the in-venue gameday experience.

While much of the discussion focused on fan experience, there was general agreement that training and analytics applications for VR and AR will significantly impact player development and performance in the years to come. Many voiced their opinion that in the long-term, it is these training applications that will provide the technology’s greatest impact on the game.

You couldn’t help but get the feeling that something great was being created. These were the best and brightest in their respective fields getting together to collaborate and provide the leadership that will drive how the sports world innovates using VR and AR technologies.

Congratulations to Luke James and his Sports Innovation Network for a fantastic job in organizing and attracting such a high-quality field of global participants.

Glen Rapoport is co-Founder of Vitruvian Sport Systems. For more information visit