The 2023 Wasabi Tech Summit: A Game-Changing Event for Sports and Technology

July 13, 2023By Mike Welts

The 2023 Wasabi Tech Summit, held at the iconic Fenway Park, was a groundbreaking event that brought together the sports industry’s leading IT and tech professionals. This exciting summit showcased the latest innovations and advancements in technology aimed at enhancing the fan experience and taking traditional sports teams to the next level of interactivity. Further, it illustrated how data is driving these seemingly discrete industries into something that is increasingly much more integrated and dynamic; it’s a data-driven convergence of all three.

Hear from experts at the Wasabi Tech Summit

Hosted by NESN sportscaster and anchor Tom Caron, the event featured a panel discussion with some of the most influential figures in the sports technology world. Among the panelists were Brian Shield, Vice President of Information Technology for the Red Sox, Josh Carley, Vice President of Technology for TD Garden and the Boston Bruins, and Travis Dunn, Chief Technology Officer at DraftKings. These experts shared their insights on how technology is shaping the future of sports and how it’s creating an engaging and immersive experience for fans.  

Travis Dunn shared his thoughts on the potential of virtual reality (VR) in sports, saying, “I think this is the future. A front row seat to this sporting event where, essentially, you’re courtside at the Celtics game. And not only that, you’re actually seeing the odds, the likelihood of Tatum making that shot or what is the likely probability of the speed.” 

To Brian Shield's focus is on data-driven decision-making in sports, saying, “We’re using data to make better decisions on and off the field. It’s not just about the players’ performance, but also about understanding our fans and their preferences. This helps us create a more personalized and engaging experience for them.” He also mentioned that they have been investing in data analytics and technology to stay ahead in the competitive sports landscape. 

Josh Carley emphasized the importance of partnerships in the tech space, stating, “We’ve got some excellent partnerships. I think partners matter in those spaces because a lot of times you can see what another organization is doing, but don’t have clarity to exactly how that was done.” He also highlighted the need for technologists to be open-minded and adaptable when it comes to implementing new solutions. 

One of the key topics discussed during the panel was the use of technology to enhance fan engagement. From the moment fans enter the stadium to the time they leave, digital touchpoints are becoming increasingly important in creating a seamless and enjoyable experience. From security checks to in-stadium entertainment, technology is playing a crucial role in ensuring that fans have a memorable time at the game. 

The panelists also touched upon the unique challenges faced by sports teams when it comes to managing large volumes of traffic from stadium IPs. With thousands of fans using their smartphones simultaneously during games, it’s essential for teams to have robust firewall rules in place to prevent accidental blocking of fans’ access to digital services.  

The Wasabi Tech Summit was not only an opportunity for industry professionals to share their knowledge and expertise but also a chance for attendees to witness firsthand how technology is revolutionizing the world of sports. The event demonstrated that technology is not just about making things more convenient or efficient; it’s about creating unforgettable experiences that bring fans closer to the action and the teams they love. 

Consider the rapid growth the sports betting field has seen over the last 18 months. DraftKings has expanded its sportsbook into more than 20 states as well as Ontario, Canada. The technology component of this growth cannot be overlooked—that’s a lot more users added to the system in such a short time.  

As the summit came to a close, it was clear that the future of sports technology is bright, with endless possibilities for innovation and growth. The 2023 Wasabi Tech Summit served as a reminder that a blend of sports, entertainment, betting has resulted in an unprecedented data driven convergence. These industries are constantly evolving, and technology will continue to play a vital role in shaping their future.

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