Chicago’s Sports Tech Scene: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About

Whether you’re a passionate sports enthusiast or even just a casual sports fan, it’s safe to say that nowadays, the sports industry is one of the biggest industries globally, as people from almost every single country in the world are involved with it. This is mainly thanks to the most recent technological advancements from the last two decades, which ultimately allowed sports to become more and more present in the online world. Not only that, but due to the huge amount of information that’s available online and also due to the ease of access to that information, sports companies are relying more and more on the Internet and on today’s technology to promote their sports events through the use of online marketing and digital media, by analyzing data from sports fans that’s constantly being posted on Social Media, and more. Because of all of that, all of those sports companies aren’t just choosing any ordinary city to operate from, but are in fact choosing Chicago as their preferred place of operations, as Chicago is slowly (but surely) becoming the number one Sports Technology Hub in the entire world. Now, there are a quite a few different reasons on why Chicago’s sports tech scene has been booming.

With that said, we picked the 5 main reasons on why we think that Chicago’s sports tech scene is expected to become the biggest sports tech scene in the world. Here are those:

1. More people are starting to participate in Sports Betting online

Firstly, there’s the fact that more and more people are trying out Sports Betting online, which is probably one of the biggest reasons why the sports industry has become much more present in the online world nowadays.

Obviously, the main reason why most people consider trying out Sports Betting is for the entertainment value that this activity has to offer them. While watching live sports can be fun and exciting, nothing compares to the anticipation, rush and exhilaration that you get when having some money on the line while watching a sports game, whether that’s football, basketball, baseball, or any other sport that you might be passionate about.

Now, you might be wondering if online sports betting is legal in the area you live in. This is one of the major reasons why Chicago is such an appealing city for sports tech companies to operate from, as betting is perfectly legal in the U.S. state of Illinois, which consequently includes Chicago, which is the most populous city in this state.

So, with online sports betting already being legal, live, and available throughout the state of Illinois since the year of 2020, anyone residing in this state can choose from a variety of online sportsbooks and betting apps as seen on, and then simply sign up, and bet from the comfort of their own home, all without having to worry about infringing any law.

2. More Sports Tech Companies are Moving into Chicago due to its Technological Attributes

What we consider to be the second biggest reason for more sports tech companies to be choosing Chicago as their preferred place of operations is simply due to the fact this city has a lot to offer in terms of technological attributes.

Just shortly before online sports betting became legal in the state of Illinois during 2020, Chicago was officially deemed as a renowned smart city on a global scale, with the city being ranked #171 of the world’s leading smart cities based on a research that focused on the technological trends available at a global scale at that time (end-2019) and also on the city’s annual return of investment in hyper-connectivity and technological implementation.

Chicago's Sports Tech SceneMore impressively, at that time, Chicago had also been ranked by researchers to be amongst the top five U.S. cities who were deemed as the “Top Globally Connected” smart cities within the U.S., with that selection being made from an already extensive group of 23 US cities in total.

This top-5 ranking earned by the city of Chicago was due to the city’s ability to leverage four technological attributes – implementation of technology, cybersecurity, data and analytics, and having connected citizens – in ways that would best serve its residents, from all of which its success was found none other due to the city’s effort to stay updated on technological trends at the time.

This constant focus on staying up-to-date when it comes to the most recent technological improvements only continued to this day at a consistent pace. As such, it’s no surprise why more and more sports tech companies are moving into Chicago, as they all look to benefit from the many impressive technological attributes that this beautiful and also heavily-cultural city has to offer.

3. Sports Tech Companies are resorting to Live Streaming

The third strongest reason for sports tech companies to look to Chicago as their place of operations would be the fact that those same technological attributes offered by the city also make it a great place for live streaming companies to organize virtually broadcasted sports events in the form of live streams.

Obviously, no matter how big a sports arena or events center is, every venue will have a maximum capacity, and once that capacity is exceed, no more sports fans can be present at that specific event.

This is where live streaming technology comes into play, as this allows sports tech companies to recruit the services of live streaming companies in order to truly expand their total sports audience to an astronomical level.

By live streaming a sports event, sports tech companies can further enhance their sales by simply selling digital tickets that provide sports fans with virtual access to any sports event that’s live broadcasted online, which they can watch right from the comfort of their own home through a stable internet connection, whether that’s on a PC, laptop, a Smart TV, or even a smartphone.

That goes for literally any type of sports, including football, boxing, basketball, hockey, tennis, baseball, rugby, soccer, or even simpler things like professional darts. If there’s a sports crowd that loves it, there’s a market for it.

Not only that, but with the live streaming industry currently being worth over $184.3 billion on a global scale, it’s no secret that live streaming sports events is what’s becoming the new norm for most sports companies and broadcasting companies alike, especially when accounting for the fact that the global live streaming market is expected to reach more than $247 billion in revenue by 2027.

4. Use of VR and AR on Live Broadcasts improves the viewing-experience for fans

As the fourth major reason for sports tech companies to adopt Chicago as their place of operations, we first have to talk and think about the world of esports (electronic-sports), meaning professional video gaming.

As of 2022, according to a recent market analysis made by Statista, the global eSports market is currently valued at just over $1.38 billion, which is already quite an impressive market revenue if you think about it, all while also being expected to grow to up to $1.87 billion by 2025.

This is basically due to the fact that most casual gamers (i.e. players who do not play video games at a professional level) are highly likely to enjoy watching pro-players and pro gaming teams play the same competitive online multiplayer games that they play at home, including games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, PUBG, PUBG Mobile, League of Legends, Dota 2, and more. Because of that, it’s also expected that they would enjoy watching that pro-level of gameplay right from the comfort of their home.

With a projected audience of 318 million eSports enthusiasts worldwide by 2025, the development of venues designed specifically for such a large audience is obviously necessary.

This not only caused sports tech companies to require bigger event venues or bigger sports arenas in order to run their esports shows for that huge online community of esports fans, but it also led them to start implementing VR (Virtual Reality) as well as AR (Artificial Intelligence) into their live broadcasts in order to further improve their fans’ overall viewing-experience, and ultimately, take it to a whole new level.

A great example of requiring the largest venues possible along with the integration of VR and AR would be the United Center indoor arena, located in Chicago, Illinois, which was already used to host Counter-Strike: Global Offense tournaments, as well as the League of Legends Quarterfinals in 2016, and just very recently, the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) 2022.

LCS 2022 hosted at The United Center in Chicago, Illinois

By implementing VR and AR on live broadcasts, sports tech companies are able to include virtual assets such as computer-generated graphics and leaderboards, animations and digitally-created objects that aren’t actually there, which are then all shown digitally to the online crowd watching at home at a very high-quality directly over the real live video footage of their esports event.

LCS 2022 being live streamed with the integration of VR and AR into its live broadcast

This equally goes for the live broadcasting of standard sports. While VR allows for sports tech companies to place on-screen marking of a sports field (such as a football field) that conveniently highlight specific plays, field areas, or player positions, AR allows for the detection of those plays and movements performed by sports athletes.

Live broadcast of football match with the integration of VR and AR

5. Sports Tech Companies investing in Technology for Professional Athletes

Lastly, and as the final reason on why more sports tech companies are considering to operate directly from Chicago, we have the fact that once again, Chicago is a city that’s driven by its many technological attributes.

As such, there are already quite a few different sports tech companies located in Chicago that are resorting to modern technology to change the way today’s athletes perform both on and off the field, and ultimately making those athletes noticeably better at what they do.

By utilizing small, low-cost electronics, smart high-precision wearable devices, and computer-assisted analysis that’s powered by AR, companies can help athletes to step up their game to a whole new level that we could never have imagined.

For example, by recording real-time video and then utilizing advanced computer software that adapts to any level of play to quickly store and bring up virtually choreographed moves or virtual play-by-play diagrams, sports tech companies can share all of this crucial trial-and-error digital data with individual players, their teammates, and their coaches in order to then let the whole team know about the best possible plays that they would ultimately be able to perform on the field against their opponents.