The gap between professional and amateur sport may be about to narrow with news that an Irish company, Playertek, has raised €1 million to develop it’s ambition of making wearable sports technology available to individuals and amateur clubs.
Based only miles from the Newry headquarters of StatSports who have made huge strides in monitoring the movements of professional players in the Premier League, Playertek is also focused on team sports especially soccer, gaelic football and rugby.
Founder Ronan MacRuari, a former Chief Technology Officer with StatSports, explained to Sport for Business last night that he believes the technology is ready for a leap towards the mass market.
“Wearable technology is a real hot topic at the moment but there is a world of difference in perception between what the IRFU might do with stats and what might be available to club players.”
“We provide all the kit that is needed, from the monitor to a specially designed base layer with a stitch din pocket, and the software so that a player and a coach can instantly see the main numbers that are relevant to the match or session they have just completed.
The whole package comes in considerably cheaper than the much touted Apple Watch at a price of €249 for an individual, including access to the software for a year. Once that initial purchase has been made, ongoing analysis costs only €2.49 per month from the second year on.
The technology provides clean data every session so can be used by multiple teams within larger clubs and there will be pricing based on multiple purchases that MacRuari believes will be “attractive to clubs that want to provide the service to a number of teams that train and play at different times.”
The team has certainly taken lessons from the consumer electronics sector and the packaging and simplicity of the product and the display makes it look very attractive as a piece of kit that will improve team and player performance without being unwearable or awkward.
Imagine the psychological boost of running out against local rivals with the same style of tech at your disposal as is being worn in the Allianz Arena or the Aviva Stadium.
That’s what has prompted Leonard Ryan, an original founder of Setanta Sports and now heading up Danu Investment Partners to get involved at this stage of rolling the company out.
“300 million people play football around the world. It is the universal sport but there are no GPS tracking products available for consumers. Smaller sports such as cycling have numerous products so why not football? What Ronan and Kevin have created is a product that is at the professional level for those playing amateur sports”.