The top Digital Sport stories of 2015

AS Roma Crowdsource their website

In what will almost definitely prove to be a precedent for other professional sports clubs moving forward, AS Roma took to the social media platform Reddit back in October to crowdsource ideas for the team’s new digital platforms. In what was a complete redesign, they took ideas on every feature from live score formats on the website to video offerings and galleries.

AS roma 1

With the innovative process allowing anybody to get involved by sharing their opinion whether they were an AS Roma fan or just a hobby web-designer, it’s paved a way for professional teams to directly engage with their fans and build platforms around features that the fans want.

Expect to see this happen a lot more as professional sports teams compete against each other to provide their fans with the best content in the most creative way possible.


The VR battle heats up

The arrival and the rapid development of Virtual Reality has taken the digital sport world by storm. The “VR race” of sorts has seemingly been whittled down to two main competitors, each with their own unique tech behind them. Google, YouTube and GoPro have all teamed up to deliver the first kind of VR technology which is currently accessible to almost anyone on the planet.

Usable by just a smartphone and “Google Cardboard”, it seems to be an entree of sorts for the VR enthusiasts with Google potentially looking to release more of a long term VR engine in 2016 to rival that of Samsung and Facebook.

GoPro Spherical: Tahiti Surf VR

Anthony Walsh and Matahi Drollet bring us inside some of the biggest barrels Tahiti has to offer in full 360°.For the most immersive experience, click and drag on your desktop, or move your iOS device in any direction.

Posted by GoPro on Thursday, 12 November 2015

However Samsung can be considered as the organisation ahead of the rest in the VR race despite the Gear VR Powered by Oculus being a little bit more rare. The product, created with Virtual Reality company Oculus is by far and away the most advanced technology that exists currently in VR and has, in the second half of 2015 with the emergence of Google’s 360 Video, really made it’s move in the sports market.

With professional sports competitions signing on to broadcast in VR in 2016 along with organisations like the NBA and teams like the Golden State Warriors already utilising the technology regularly, it’s going to soar next year.


Nike’s brand dominance

If retaining its status as the no.1 sports apparel brand in the US for 2015 wasn’t enough (considering Adidas’ slip behind Under Armor to number three in the sports apparel brand race), they’ve gone from strength to strength in the second half of the year with great campaign after great campaign. The golden rule of digital marketing is to give love in order to receive love and they have done exactly that by spending big on their campaigns.

From it’s “Bring Your Game” campaign and signing LeBron James on a lifetime sponsorship deal to launching a shoe via one of the most popular video games in the world, Nike has blown its competition away with its innovative and forward thinking.


In addition to its endeavour to find new ways to reach new audiences, the buzz around the retirement of one of it’s longest ever sponsored athletes in Kobe Bryant means that Nike will likely stay at the top of the tree in 2016.


Official Rights Holders lose out at the 2015 Rugby World Cup

You don’t have to work in the digital sport world to recognise that the sponsors of the England Rugby team would have likely recorded significant losses during the Rugby World Cup after they were eliminated from the tournament after just 16 days.

However, more interestingly, the official rights holders of the tournament itself were rather undone by numerous brands employing well targeted and well implemented ambush marketing tactics. With the likes of Mastercard suffering from embarrassments like the man of the match debacle that occurred in the England Australia game, companies and brands not aligned specifically with the tournament wholly capitalised ie; Guinness and Beats by Dre.



2015 has seemingly been the year of the wearable with the technology getting more advanced and smaller with new start-up company. If you haven’t seen it all in 2015 then you’ve likely missed a lot. From ingestibles that analyse how players regulate their own body temperature and mouthguards that track an athelete’s circulation, respiration, exertion and hydration to shoelace wearables, tracking technology gets smaller and weirder and this is a trend that will likely continue well into 2016.


About author

Matt Tewhatu
Matt Tewhatu 155 posts

Matt is the editor of Digital Sport and Chief of Snack Media's rugby division and has a journalistic background both here in UK, Australia and in his native New Zealand. Follow him on Twitter @mtewhatu

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