“Sports” Track: March 11–13

The Forrest Four-Cast: February 15, 2017

Athletes secretly (or not so secretly) want to be rock stars, which is one or the many reasons why the “Sports” track at SXSW has become so popular in recent years. This track’s popularity also reflects the fact that the sports world pulls together so buzz concepts for the digital creative community — from big data to Millennial engagement to wearable technology.

For 2017, 10 of the most thought-provoking sessions in this track include:

  1. CANCELED: Arena 3.0: Creating the Next Great American City. Tech entrepreneur and Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé will discuss his vision for the 21st century coliseum and how opening the world’s most technologically advanced arena contributes to building the city of the future, improving the regional economy and acting as a catalyst for broader social impact by inspiring fans, local community leaders and more. Scheduled for Saturday, March 11.
  2. Back to the Future: Why eSports Needs a Colosseum. Led by journalist and broadcaster Bonnie Bernstein, this session will explore the future of eSports through the lens of the broadcast, fan experience, competitor, and the technologically immersive venues of tomorrow. Join us to learn more about the industry’s growth and explore the revolutionary eSports experience of the future. Scheduled for Sunday, March 12.
  3. Brand Wars: Blurring Lines Between Sponsor & Event. The line between corporate sponsorship and direct team ownership is becoming increasingly blurred. How far are we from teams being outright owned by corporations in direct competition to promote their global brands? For this solo presentation, Dan Meis (who currently serves as the Lead Designer for the new Stadio Della Roma project in Rome) offers his take on a future in which Google might compete against Facebook for the world’s most talented athletes. Scheduled for Sunday, March 12.
  4. Cannabis & Athletics: A New Paradigm in Sports. One of several marijuana-themed sessions at SXSW 2017, this panel offers an all-encompassing discussion about the use of cannabis by all forms of athletes from weekend joggers to competitive athletes to professional sports. Scheduled for Monday, March 13.
  5. Dude, Who’s Monetizing My Fans’ Content? Digital, social, and brand leaders inside the sports industry embark on this controversial discussion, looking at how sports properties can leverage technology to own and monetize authentic fan content themselves. Scheduled for Sunday, March 12.
  6. Futuristic Sports: Delivering Against the Hype. Drone racing (as pictured above) is the next big thing, right? Well, maybe so. Nick Horbaczewski, DRL CEO, discusses the impact of sky-high expectations — and gives his insights on how to create technology, media and experiences that will meet the demands of next generation audiences. Scheduled for Sunday, March 12.
  7. How the World’s Biggest Sport is Making It in US. Despite being hugely successful globally, soccer is still in a battle to break-in to the top three sports in America. How are European super clubs winning the attention, hearts and minds of US fans? Speakers include Arno Trabesinger of FC Barcelona and Rudolf Vidal of FC Bayern Munich. Scheduled for Saturday, March 11.
  8. Moneyball 2.0: Are Players Ready for Wearables? ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh offers insights nto the tricky world of biometric data and what it means for the field of sports and our workplace. Scheduled for Monday, March 13.
  9. What is the Role of Artificial Intelligence in Sport? The advance of AI is clearly one of the biggest themes for SXSW 2017. This panel explores if designing artificial intelligence through the lens of human personas is the solution in marrying the risk, adrenaline and emotional and physical exertion of sport with data-driven machine learning. Scheduled for Monday, March 13.
  10. Will the Future of Sports Mean Equality for Women? An all-female lineup of speakers (including USA Today’s Christine Brennan) discusses what the future of women in sports looks like, what equality would look like and — most importantly — how we get there. Scheduled for Monday, March 13.

Other tracks at SXSW 2017 include “Brands & Marketing” (March 11–16), “Design” (March 10–14), “Food” (March 11–13), “Government” (March 10–13), “Intelligent Future” (March 11–16), “Journalism” (March 11–16), “Social Impact” (March 11–15), and “Startup Village” (March 10–16). Also attend two days of “Tech Under Trump” sessions on March 15–16.

Register today to take part in all the incredible daytime and evening content that makes March Magic in Austin such an enriching experience. The improved 2017 badge system allows you to dramatically increase your opportunities to learn and to network throughout SXSWeek — learn all about this improved badge system by watching this short, two-minute video.

Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.