Leaders Roundtable: The Current Landscape of the Performance Sports Industry

Skylab was recently invited to discuss and debate the current landscape of the performance sports industry with partners of Leaders Performance Institute.

The roundtable was hosted alongside the Leaders in Sport summit at Twickenham, the home of England Rugby. A fitting setting to share challenges and the many opportunities across technology, sport, and performance. It was a pleasure to meet and share insights with peers at Zone7, EPIC Risk Management, Science in Sport, Kairos, Elite Performance Partners, and Sportable.   

Even with the breadth of services and product fits around the table, common challenges soon appeared with several take-home messages to complement our activity at Skylab. We tackled themes in approaching new markets, trends with clients and articulating ROI. 


England Changing rooms @ Twickenham - The setting for our roundtable

Exploring and Growing in New Markets

The pandemic slowed growth and activity in parts, however, accelerated the dependency and execution of technology, so it’s possible for organisations to do more with less. It’s now easier to engage and service all corners of the World, but, as activity transitions to pre-pandemic levels, there was careful thought not to neglect the benefits of being in-person. An important consideration as we experience growth in new markets.   

As a result of listening to and analysing market demands, we repositioned our offering to effect powerful, positive change in sports technology. Post-merger (learn more) saw Skylab introduce our Elite Performance Analysis division, Skylab: EPA, to set ourselves apart with a unique joint offering of digital, creative, and performance analysis.    


Euros 2021 Final @ Wembley - The first full-stadium in the UK post Pandemic

Embracing technology has been an important keystone in solving new clients’ problems and overcoming what would usually be significant resource requirements. Take the example of Skylab: EPA immersed in performance operations at a professional soccer club in Kentucky, USA. We have leveraged the latest technology to remotely capture, analyse and deliver new performance levels at the club, from different locations across the UK.    

Approaches to Innovating Performance Practices and Trending Client Requirements

As departments grow and new strategies are implemented, we are seeing increasing crossover and alignment from corporate best-practice to performance strategies rather than the two divisions in sports being siloed.  

We emphasise the value clients find in our Discovery sessions: bespoke onboarding where clearly defined objectives are established, to determine what needs to be true to take problems away, be a catalyst for change, and gain a competitive advantage. Utilising Skylab’s experience and expertise to apply an alternate lens helps future-proof in the long term.  


Predicted Growth of Sports Technology Market until 2028 by Polaris Group - Driven by converged offerings

Articulating Return on Investment

The challenge is clear across sports where there can be limited patience or appreciation of the time required for some projects to yield positive results. Some examples shared included organisations turning for help amid an injury crisis needing a quick fix, or a poor run of form means full focus immediately switches to the next fixture, in order to turn fortunes around.   

A key focus was the practice of having more overt conversations about client’s individual and departmental KPIs, behaviours, and decision-making practices – thus ensuring activities are aligned.

Skylab had a recent conversation with a leading international federation where their media and content department have opened a workstream tapping into the insights gleaned from their Performance Analysis team, initially intended for athletes and coaches. An example where value can be expanded to other departments by virtue of taking advantage of a converged offering. 

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain

Formula 1 - An organisation effectively using functional, performance partners across lines of business

The final remark concluded in establishing, and then flourishing, the connection you build between yourself and the client, to ensure continuous impact and alignment. Elite Performance Partners shared their feedback mechanism post project to ask what ‘we’ can do better across delivery, even if all objectives have been surpassed, so you can capture and understand different perspectives to maintain competitiveness at a high-level.   

Rounding Up

Thank you to Leaders for the invitation, hospitality, and for hosting an incredibly insightful event, and Performance Institute Partners for the opportunity to keep learning and improving so we can all apply best-practice to remain at the forefront.   

Skylab is a strategic digital and performance analysis partner that applies its passion, experience, and expertise in sports and technology to make a positive difference for clients, athletes, and fans alike. If you have a problem you’d like to tackle with digital or performance analysis solutions, or go deeper into our projects, connect with Ciaran.Skinner@studioskylab.com.  

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