The containment has shown, the déconfinement even more : the sport cannot be practised more really as before, with cancellations in the cascade of events and events. So, the new technologies come to the rescue of amateur and professional athletes have withdrawn from competitions. Bib, GPS, stopwatch : the virtual races and in distance have a large interest since the confinement, and this trend is expected to continue for a very long time. (JEROME VAL / RADIO FRANCE)
It is a foot race a bit special, who is preparing for that Saturday morning, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. With four of his friends, Cecilia starts a 10 kilometers with a race bib, a GPS and a stopwatch… except that the other competitors (more than 5 500 to this event called “10K Free-to-race”) are not there. They are scattered all over France. An hour and a half later, the group of friends comes back. “It was the canon,” exclaimed Cecilia. We took the route a little tourist.”
Looks like a competition post-containment : each player running to his side, but respecting the official rules of the race. There is even a final ranking. “We are all at the same time doing the same race, across France, enthuses Caroline. It is super nice. We are going to see on social networks people who shared their race, it’s cool.”
The tendency among amateurs, but also pros
Cecilia short, for the past eight years, marathons, trails. This year the races were cancelled one after the other. The young physio has found a workaround with the virtual sport. “We don’t have the speaker, the ark of departure, the crowd, the audience encourages it. But tell me that, at this time there, I’ll be outside to run, it can be a source of motivation and an alternative to a real race official.”
Runners can track distance to the other participants, online. (JEROME VAL / RADIO FRANCE)
This new trend is not about the fans. Even the professionals are placed, as Lise Vernet, vice-world champion in kayaking. She turned to the digital platforms of sport when the real world has offered a lot of opportunities. “I talked about it with my colleagues in training and some are registered.”
It is a tool for us, it is a complement. And it compensates for the lack of competition in this period. What races are virtual, but it is already good.Lise Vernet, vice-world champion in kayakà franceinfo
On this booming market of virtual sport, the start-up Sports Heroes is a precursor. Established in 2014, today, it brings together 1.5 million followers of running, biking, or swimming.
A new economics of sport
From its offices in paris, its founder Boris Pourreau ensures that the digitization of the sport is experiencing a turning point, and today the sport from a distance, without physical reunification, has its place. “This is one of the major challenges of our century to put people to the sport, and regardless of the means. The digital is a way to have a daily link with practitioners. It will not replace necessarily all of the physical events but it is a weapon to promote the practice of sport.”
Organizers of competitions have understood the challenge. The international extreme Sports Festival, the FISE, which welcomes every year in Montpellier 600 000 spectators (cancelled this year), there is also : the trials of skate, BMX, or roller will be at a distance throughout the summer with videos filmed in the four corners of the world. “Usually, there are 2 000 registered. For this event digital, expected 3 000, details its organiser Hervé André-Benoit. Our DNA is to make these urban sports are exploding around the world in reputation, popularity and number of practitioners. Our logic in this situation in particular, it is to be able to get up and the opportunity to create an event that is digital can help.”
It is the world of the sport of tomorrow that is taking shape at this time. One can imagine, ” explains Boris Pourreau Sports Heroes, even when the competitions will resume their avatar virtual is here to stay. “The organizers can offer a great event, the highlight of the year. They can say the same : why not make virtual events more small throughout the year to have a link almost weekly with the practitioners.”
It allows you to vary the pleasures and to multiply pretexts for encouraging people to do sport on the long term.Boris Pourreau Sports Heroesà franceinfo
The sports brands are not mistaken. They combine more and more of this type of virtual events.