Founded in Barcelona in April 2014, FirstV1sion’s mission is to develop products that bring the true reality of sports closer to the fans. To do this, the Spanish startup integrates the most advanced audiovisual and radio transmission technology into elite athletes’ jerseys. It is the only company in the world capable of transmitting an athlete’s point of view, live, during an official game. So far, it had only been possible in Formula 1 and Mountain biking, by installing cameras in racers’ helmets. With its innovative clothing, FirstV1ision goes beyond these two sports, allowing other sports fans to become engaged with and directly learn players’ techniques. Intel named it one of the ten most interesting wearables of the year (2014).
The sports industry presents some opportunities
The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil reached a global in-home television audience of 3.2 billion people, the last Super Bowl had 111.9 million viewers…these and many other sports tournaments engage millions of people to watch their favorite sports players in real-time from home. FirstV1ision is taking it one step further by creating a unique and immersive experience that allows the viewers to position themselves in the players’ eyes. The audience numbers prove that it has great market potential.
In addition, the so called wearable technologies have allowed companies such as Fitbit or Garmin to modernize the sports industry while achieving highly successful results. Other small companies have entered the market by introducing smart clothing which incorporates sensors that track cadence, muscle effort and heart rate, among other metrics. However, none of these companies have yet launched a product like FirstV1ision’s. By being a first mover, FirstV1sion has a competitive advantage worth exploiting.
Facing possible challenges
We might consider the sports industry to be innovative; however there is still much room for technology companies like FirstV1ision to elevate this industry to the next level. There are a number of challenges, though, that FirstV1ision needs to consider.
- Regulation: There are regulations in place in some countries that limit the use of personal data like the data coming from sports players. FirstV1sion works with players that have given prior consent to broadcast their garments’ videos. Thus, the startup isn’t facing any regulation issues so far, but -in light of its novelty- potential-new legislations must be closely tracked.
- Compatibility with sports manufacturers: FirstV1sion makes its products on base kits from any brand, so there aren’t any copyright issues with club sponsors. The company has to continue making sure that these brands -such as Nike or Adidas- don’t pose any future threats.
- Broadcasting: Production companies rent FirstV1ision’s units to sell the content to broadcasters. At the same time, media rights have to be bought in order to get the content to the audience. It makes up a value chain that FirstV1sion must closely track in order to make sure that the content properly reaches the audience.
- Price: There is no official price for the garment disclosed on FirstV1ision’s website, so one might guess that it isn’t inexpensive. This might prevent some small and mid-size corporations to rent or acquire the product.
- Sport players: To get the content to the spectators, FirstV1ision must get players on board. One might think that it’s not easy, but players such as Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona) and Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Tunder) have already showed their support by becoming partners and investors of the company.
Considering the market opportunity and potential challenges, FirstV1ision should consider the following actions in order to thrive in the (cutting-edge?) sports industry:
- Partnering with large sports manufacturers such as Nike or Adidas which will allow FirstV1ision to access their customer base while preventing the manufacturers from becoming future competitors. This could enable the startup to increase their scale and potentially decrease the technology price.
- Entering the B2C market by providing mid-level quality garments since the current ones are full-HD. This could possibly boost brand awareness as well as incentivize corporations to buy the more expensive higher quality versions.
- Considering partnerships with sports production companies. This would provide FirstV1ision with direct contact to broadcasters and more bargaining power, reducing one step in the value chain.
- Sponsoring famous sports players to advertise its brand and products. This might encourage fans to demand FirstV1ision content on TV in order to watch their favorite player’s techniques. What soccer fan doesn’t want to become the next Leo Messi?
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 “FirstV1sion brings Spanish ingenuity to wearables for sports”, BlackCapital, September 18, 2014. Accessed at http://black-capital.com/news/2014/09/firstv1sion-brings-spanish-ingenuity-to-wearables-for-sports/?lang=en
 “2014 FIFA World Cup™ reached 3.2 billion viewers, one billion watched final”, Fifa.com, December 16, 2015. Accessed at http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/y=2015/m=12/news=2014-fifa-world-cuptm-reached-3-2-billion-viewers-one-billion-watched–2745519.html
 “Viewership of Super Bowl falls short of record”, Richard Sadomir, The New York Times, February 8, 2016. Accessed at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/09/sports/football/viewership-of-super-bowl-falls-short-of-record.html
 “Legal: The laws and regulations of wearable devices “, Daniel Tozer, Wearable Tech, September 10, 2016. Accessed at http://www.wearabletechnology-news.com/news/2015/sep/10/where-law-stands-wearable-devices/
“FirstV1sion, la empresa española que destaca en la Super Bowl de StartUps”, EFE Emprende, February 9, 2016. Accessed at http://www.efeemprende.com/noticia/startup-deporte-telefonica/