OSLO – The soccer industry is one of the largest sports industries in the World. Over 250 million people worldwide, across more than 200 countries, participate in soccer in one form or another, with an audience of over 4 billion people globally. A sport that can be not only watched worldwide but can have participants ranging in age from young children to senior adults, soccer has the attraction and audience like no other sport today.
The game of soccer can be traced back to ancient times in China, nearly 2000 years ago. Ancient Greeks and Romans also played the sport; however it was the English that made the sport what it is today. The British created the rules of the sport, including not using your hands. It is a common myth the football refers to “using your feet only”, however, the term “football” originated because it was played on your feet, not on horseback, such as Polo. FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) became a member of the International Football Association Board of Great Britain in 1913, and since then, there have been several improvements in the sport with not only the introduction and development to the rules of the game, but also the spread of the game’s popularity worldwide.
In 2020 alone, the global revenue of soccer-related sport was $28 billion. This revenue includes professional and amateur soccer participation. Soccer is an inclusive sport which attracts both male and female players, ranging in age from young school-age children to senior adults, making it accessible to anyone, no matter where in the world they are. Generally, soccer can be categorized in to two main forms: Organized and Unorganized. Organized soccer is the most common type of soccer for players who want to compete. Participants range in age and are generally grouped in teams and clubs based on their age, gender and skill level. These teams and clubs are overseen by administrative leaders who create practice schedules, matches and tournaments. The teams and clubs can be privately held, and academies can be set up to train and teach the players. Unorganized soccer is found in many places across the World, especially those communities where there is no leader to oversee the game. In this case, pickup games, or street soccer, is most common. The games are participant-driven and there is no organized schedule or structure to how the games are run. Players in these unorganized games of soccer are free to play by their own agreed-upon rules, and they are open to all ages, gender, and skill levels to play together. Although these players may not have the organized coaching and leading from a young age, in many communities, big talent is grown from the streets playing pickup soccer. Ronaldo da Lima grew up playing barefoot soccer on the streets of Rio, until he was picked up by a talent agent from the Cruzeiro team in 1993. Neymar Jr of the Paris Saint-Germain and Brazilian national team grew up playing on the streets of Mogi das Cruzes in southern Brazil before being picked up by several Brazilian coaches, then to Europe to become one of the world’s most expensive soccer players with a salary in 2021 of $41.6 million.
The game of soccer is quickly taking over the esports and gaming industry. With games such as FIFA and PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) reaching players through consoles like Xbox, Playstation and Switch, soccer is becoming even more mainstream, and something that you can do from your home, anywhere in the World. The gaming industry had an annual revenue of $152.1 billion in 2020, and by 2024 the mobile gaming industry alone is expected to reach $116.4 billion. This surge in mobile gaming is in large part due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, forcing many to stay home, away from organized sports and activities and using their mobile devices for socializing, entertaining, exercising and staying in touch.
Mobile app developers in the sports industry are seeing a huge growth in their platforms and users as the growth of 2020 and beyond continues. By finding a way to put sports and technology into a user’s hand, to use on their own time, at their own location, mobile apps are helping athletes become stronger and better performers. Home Court, the AI app created by ex-Apple engineer David Lee, and built with NEX Team’s technologies , is the premier app for basketball players and has partnered with the NBA (National Basketball Association.) Home Court uses AI technology to track and record a player’s basketball shots, misses and location in real-time. In it’s first 2 years alone, HomeCourt recorded more than 25 million shots across 170 countries globally. The success of AI in sports opens the doors to so many other apps and further development on the technology being used. This is where Sports Computing comes in with KickerAce, seeing the potential for market growth with an even further advanced AI technology that is focused on the biomechanics of a user’s movement, not just on the direction of kick, trajectory, and speed of the ball. The technology behind KickerAce sets Sports Computing at the level, and beyond, of other app developers such as NEX Team, to not only encourage both amateur and professional to get out and play soccer, but also to make ensure that the mobile user is doing so correctly without causing harm to joints and muscles, while also improving their game and perfect shot.