Football—also known as soccer in the United States—is the most popular sport in the world, boasting an astounding 3.5 billion fan base across the globe. Americans have yet to embrace this global phenomenon, but football is hands-down the official game for the rest of the world.
And where there are high stakes and competition, technological advances are sure to be found—either to gain a competitive advantage on the field, or to capitalize on the multi-billion dollar industry around the sport. The following are 9 tech startups building innovative products and solutions to change the sport of soccer as we know it.
San Francisco-based Tag.bio has developed a software platform that—among other things—helps a soccer club to scout/group players and test out scenarios to gauge likely opponent responses. It’s been compared to the baseball world’s Moneyball methodology, combining sophisticated statistical analytical with user intelligence to uncover deeper insights and game strategies.
Founded by Scott Faust and Christian Primozich, Austin-based Togga offers a comprehensive fantasy soccer experience to users in a premium mobile offering. The app lets fans connect, socialize, engage, and enjoy fantasy soccer directly with their friends in addition to other team supporters and the international community. Togga currently available in the Apple Store and on Google Play.
This San Francisco-based tech startup has developed an app for soccer players to both keep track of the games they’ve played, track stats, record playing histories, and share this data with friends. Think of it as Strava meets Foursquare.
Israel-based Vubooo is an Israeli startup catering to soccer fans who love to watch games live but are limited by the television viewing experience. The app essentially creates a virtual sporting event experience inside a mobile app, allowing fans to partake in the action in real time. Internet feeds and social media updates drive the play-by-play reports during a game, and fans can even comment and cheer—or boo—their favorite players.
365scores has developed a media platform that allows fans to create customized sports channels based on their viewing preferences. The mobile and web app supports all the major soccer leagues and allows fans to view scores, statistics, predictions, live feeds, video highlights,and even player tweets in more than 15 languages.
This startup’s founder Jessica O. Matthews envisioned a soccer ball that could harness kinetic energy to create electricity, thereby curbing the problem of power shortages in developing countries. The end result is the SOCCKET ball, currently available in the U.S. You can expect this innovation to make an appearance at a future World Cup real soon.
FuboTv is essentially football on-demand, on any device—think of it as Netflix for soccer. The subscriptions services offers viewers a variety of live and pre-recorded games provided by the major television networks. Additionally, FuboTV offers a mix of games from different major soccer leagues, as well as soccer news, latest standings, behind-the-scenes footage, highlights, live casts, and more. The service is accessible via the web as well as via an iOS/Android app.
KYCK is attempting to disrupt and re-imagine how the game of soccer is managed off the field. Its cloud-based platform making it easy for soccer club and league administrators to request player and staff passcards through US Club Soccer. Documents are stored and shared entirely in the cloud.
That’s right—the number one startup on this list is also one of the North American Soccer League’s (NASL) newest teams. The San Francisco Deltas plan on taking advantage of their Silicon Valley roots to bolster the franchise, from the use of smart ticketing for allowing fans to move seats from game-to-game based on interests and backgrounds, to employing virtual reality (VR) during training to improve player response and improve goalkeepers’ reflexes.
Like all professional sports, football or soccer is undergoing drastic transformations brought on by innovations like the aforementioned technologies. From fantasy soccer apps to new ways to enjoy the game, these 9 tech startups—and a myriad of other upstarts—are ushering the world’s most popular sport into the information age.