At Tech ESP, Sporting Innovations co-founder Pasha looks to Sports 3.0

Modernizing the world of sports is the name of the game for Asim Pasha, co-founder and managing partner of Sporting Innovations. Pasha shared a brief history of the relationship between sports and technology, his mission of bringing it into the modern era with Sporting Innovations and what's ahead for the industry as he spoke Tuesday

Asim Pasha, co-founder of Kansas City startup Sporting Innovations, wraps up the final Tech ESP event of the year with his talk on the future of the sports fan experience.

Modernizing the world of sports is the name of the game for Asim Pasha, co-founder and managing partner of Sporting Innovations. Pasha shared a brief history of the relationship between sports and technology, his mission of bringing it into the modern era with Sporting Innovations and what’s ahead for the industry as he spoke Tuesday evening during the final Technology Entrepreneur Speakers Program (Tech ESP) event of the year at the offices of Polsinelli Shughart in Kansas City, Mo.

The game is changing

The statistics surrounding the global sports industry are startling, Pasha said. There are approximately 12,800 registered professional teams worldwide, 18,900 professional venues and over 1.6 billion loyal and passionate fans who attend at least one event per year. But Pasha said that, by his calculation, more than 97 percent of sports teams know very little about those fans.

The scene in sports is changing, he said, with the prevalence of social media and the connectedness of fans thanks to mobile technology and the ever-decreasing cost of bandwidth. Pasha said the expectations of fans around the world are also changing. They are demanding constant connectivity, unprecedented access to teams and their players and more entertainment than ever. Attending an event just to watch the game, Pasha said, isn’t enough anymore.

“The next generation of the sports world is here,” he said. “It’s what I call Sports 3.0.”

Sporting Innovations, shifting the sports world

What Sporting Innovations offers, Pasha said, is more than just mobile apps. The company offers a combination of technological experiences that make attending a sports event more valuable to fans. The growing startup, which has been the subject of quite a bit of recognition since it launched last year, is focusing on shifting the sports industry’s economic curve through technology.

One of the keys in doing this? Building a venue from the ground up that’s designed for Sports 3.0, with ample connectivity, a solid core network and “technology everywhere” — from interactive fan experiences and games to the concession stand to the grounds crew, Pasha said.

Challenges to change

Leading the charge for change in the sports world isn’t easy. Major challenges include navigating the unique regional “sports cultures” throughout the world, dealing with dominant, strong-willed sports brands and addressing the disconnect among sports entities battling against the very upgrades Pasha and Sporting Innovations are trying to implement.

But Pasha said Sporting Innovations has grown better and better in its role as a change agent in the industry. The company has learned many lessons along the way, such as carefully controlling the momentum and direction of the change it’s sparking, continually listening, reviewing and recalibrating with each client and remaining open-minded to the strategies of old before pushing for new.

FAN360

Pasha described the ultimate fan experience as a combination of venue, fan interaction, context, knowledge and time. Adding a revenue target on top of all of that — anything from increased concessions and season-ticket holders to reduced operational costs — is the ultimate goal. “If you can put all of that together, then you can be successful,” Pasha said. “We are about changing the perception of technology in the sports world.”

FAN360, the integrated software platform Sporting Innovations offers to clients worldwide, is “all of that in a box,” Pasha said.

Words of wisdom

Pasha shared several words of wisdom for entrepreneurs and innovators:

  • Avoid the “awe.” Don’t be afraid to walk away from the biggest client or biggest brands.
  • Don’t chase money. Startups all need cash, Pasha said, but they should stay strong in their mission and avoid chasing money.
  • Don’t go it alone. Partner with a couple heavyweight clients or brands that share your mission. Work together to really drive your message home.
  • Deliver solutions, not products. Clients have problems that need solving. They don’t need products sold to them.
  • Don’t expect change. Work on educating the market and demonstrating the value of what you have to offer.
  • Be an innovator, not a duplicator.

What’s next for sports?

Pasha closed the event with his thoughts on what’s next for the sports industry, and it was a list of exactly what he hopes Sporting Innovations can help any sports organization across the world achieve: Free open wifi access in all venues; fans that feel like royalty with all of the personalized experiences available to them; sponsors that know more about the fans and are better connected; expanded and diversified revenue streams for teams; and an overall more efficient ecosystem in sports.

 
Note: Silicon Prairie News is a media sponsor of the Tech ESP.

Credit: Photo by Annie Sorensen.

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