SportsInnovation 2018: how technology is changing the football industry

The two-day event by Messe Düsseldorf in cooperation with DFL, Deutsche Fußball Liga, brought together over 900 participants from 21 countries interested in sports technology. Among exhibitors were ESSMA’s Corporate Partners, Musco Lighting and AwareManager and all DFL subsidiaries.



Day 1

Three Innovation Matches, played by the youth teams of Fortuna Düsseldorf and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, provided the canvas for showcasing various progressive technologies, including the UHD HDR standard production by DFL subsidiary Sportcast. Moreover, technologies such as new tracking systems geared towards garnering match data, primarily implemented by DFL subsidiary Sportec Solutions, and a new referee radio system — developed in cooperation with the DFL and used for the first time, were shown. Based on the gathered match data, visitors were for example given the opportunity to experience the actual match in an e-sports look by wearing virtual reality goggles.  

Other future-forward ideas presented included Artificial Intelligence (AI) products allowing for automated live editing based on real-time data and AI integration, facial recognition and audio detection systems, or AI-implementation into production workflows. Wearables as well as optical GPS tracking solutions that create a new live data experience for sport analysis and media graphics; IP transmission and how it changes global distribution and streaming services; voice-controlled individualized graphics solutions, and much more.


“Sport in general – as one of the most attractive media contents in the world – was and is a pacemaker for technological advancement.”

Christian Seifert, CEO DFL

Day 2

On Day 2, the innovative trade fair programme focused on the topics broadcast and in-stadium experience. Among other projects, the virtual advertising boards, which will be used regularly in live international broadcasts of Bundesliga matches from the 2018-2019 season were showcased in two more Innovation Matches.

Furthermore, SportsInnovation focused on the latest developments in the implementation of automation and robotics, evolving immersive Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies that offer exciting new ways to extend reality, ways to increase production efficiency, new production tools and equipment in the areas of camera work, audio mixing, graphics production, and real-time editing, new audio experiences designed to deliver the best possible entertainment experience to fans – and much more.