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Some of the biggest names in sports descended on Camp Nou Thursday for the Third Annual FC Barcelona Sports Technology Symposium, presenting a variety of topics on the present status and possible future of the industry.

The event is considered the most important in the sector anywhere in Europe and is being organised by FC Barcelona as part of the Barça Innovation Hub strategic project.

The three main areas discussed on day one of this year’s symposium were Smart Stadiums, The Game, and Talent ID.

Smart Stadiums, which saw presentations given by representatives of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, MLB’s New York Mets, and the French football club Olympique Lyonnais, and mainly focused on the way in which technology helps to improve the fan experience in stadiums. The speakers touched on everything from smart turnstiles and 4K video scoreboards to drone detection systems and cybersecurity.

The Game, which focused on current and future sports technology between the lines, was moderated by Javier Fernández, data scientist in the Department of Science and Sport at FC Barcelona, and also involved Gareth Griffith, of Formula 1; Stuart Metcalf of English Premiership club Tottenham Hotspur, and Nicolas Evans of the world governing body of football, FIFA. Each representative explained how technological progress can be applied to their respective disciplines. The FIFA presentation, for example, discussed the pros and cons of video assisted refereeing (VAR).

The Talent ID section dealt mainly with scouting. The first Talent ID presenter was David Fombella, of Sevilla FC, followed by David Martin, of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Daniel Stenz, of Shandong Luneng Taishan FC. The Sevilla speaker discussed the use of Big Data to land young talent, as well as the use of physical and tactical data for scouting.

Finally, the session dedicated to improving training methodology discussed the different innovative methods used at clubs like Ajax, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and FC Barcelona, which was represented by the club’s sports science specialist, Antonio Gómez.

The Symposium continues throughout the afternoon on Thursday, and will hold its final session on Friday morning.

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