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Digital Innovation in Sport – Barriers and Opportunities for Branded Fitness Apps for Fans

Part of the Studies on Entrepreneurship, Structural Change and Industrial Dynamics book series (ESID)

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging the growth and future of businesses globally and technological innovation, via digital means, has been identified as a key factor for brands to survive the pandemic. However, whilst the majority of decision-makers in sports clubs recognise the value of innovation, less than half have a clear strategy in this area generally let alone in digital innovation. This chapter examines the opportunities and barriers for sporting brands in adopting digital innovations to engage fans.

Using a branded fitness smartphone app as an example of a digital innovation to stimulate discussion, we interviewed 13 decision-makers in sport primarily working in marketing, communications and managerial roles within professional sports clubs. Following thematic analysis, the themes from the interview data were, perceived benefits, barriers to adoption, and overcoming barriers. The study also presents potential solutions to enable sports clubs to overcome such adoption barriers in the future. It provides important managerial and tactical recommendations to sports clubs. The need for a clear strategy for digital innovation is identified and we conclude that digital innovation is missing from typologies of sport innovation, reflective of its overlooked importance within the sector and call for greater recognition.

Keywords

  • Digital technology
  • Sport
  • Barriers
  • Smartphone apps
  • Innovation
  • Sport
  • Fans

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Fenton, A., Parry, K.D., Chadwick, S., Guimarães, G., Aeron, V. (2022). Digital Innovation in Sport – Barriers and Opportunities for Branded Fitness Apps for Fans. In: Ratten, V. (eds) Entrepreneurial Innovation. Studies on Entrepreneurship, Structural Change and Industrial Dynamics. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-4795-6_3

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