Australia’s sports technology sector has attained a noteworthy milestone, now valued at AUS$4.25 billion ($2.78 billion), placing it on par with the country’s financial technology sector, according to a recent study conducted by the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN).

The “Sports Innovation Report for 2023” has unveiled 758 companies constituting Australia’s sports tech ecosystem, employing 13,438 individuals. Furthermore, the study reveals that the sector has witnessed an impressive annual growth rate of 11.8% over the past decade.

Among these companies, 115 have been identified as ‘industry leaders,’ including notable names such as 2XU, SWEAT, VULY, and PTP. Collectively, these entities generate around 87% of the sector’s total revenue.

The ASTN has identified ten major themes that offer strategic opportunities for the industry. Noteworthy areas include environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, as well as smart apparel, which have significantly accelerated the digital transformation of leagues, teams, and federations globally in recent years.

The report also highlights the emergence of a rapidly growing sports tech ‘cluster’ along Australia’s eastern seaboard, with 90% of the companies headquartered in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. Victoria remains at the forefront, serving as the backbone of Australia’s sports tech sector, with 41% of these companies based in the state. However, the ASTN has emphasised that other states have ample opportunity to establish their presence in the sports tech sector ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Additional findings from the report indicate a decline in M&A and capital-raising activities during the 2023 financial year, as compared to 2022. This decline can be attributed to the significant tightening of access to investment capital, driven by rising interest rates and inflationary pressures. M&A activity has decreased to approximately AUS$500 million ($327 million) in 2023, compared to over AUS$1 billion ($654 million) the previous year, according to the ATSN.

The mass participation and active living market currently dominate the sports tech sector, with 56% of companies primarily serving this space. This is followed by the business of sport and entertainment market (46%) and the professional and elite sport sector (14%).

The report highlights that the majority of companies (66%) develop their solutions using information and communication technologies (ICT), while advanced materials (23%) are utilised for product development.

In terms of emerging sports tech trends, the ATSN identifies artificial intelligence (AI), active living, fitness and wellness, Web 3.0, the metaverse, gaming and blockchain, virtual sports of tomorrow, and smart apparel, equipment, and wearables as the top areas presenting new opportunities. The report also acknowledges the significance of ESG, sports digital ethics, privacy and security, women in sports tech, investment and venture capital, and global trade and business matching.

Looking towards the future, the ASTN predicts continued growth and upward trajectory for Australia’s sports tech sector, with a wave of new technologies poised to emerge in preparation for Brisbane 2032. This growth is expected to be mirrored on the global scale, with the global sports tech industry, estimated to be worth $22.9 billion in 2022, projected to grow by 13.8% annually, surpassing US$41.8 billion by 2027.

Dr. Martin Schlegel, Chair of the ASTN, said, “Rapid growth in sports tech is reshaping the sports industry as we know it and unlocking new revenue streams. Australia’s sports tech sector has proven that it has moved beyond its nascent stage, now directly competing