Thursday July 28th, 2016

Read about the latest sports tech news, innovations, ideas and products that impact players, fans and the sports industry overall at SportTechie.com.

The San Francisco Deltas organization may not yet have a team to field or a coach to lead, but they do have a vision. Named after a mathematical symbol that represents difference or change, the Deltas, by design, will no doubt be different.

Joining the North American Soccer League, the Deltas will look to employ technology that complements the game, not interferes with it. “We recognize that we are bringing the most global sport to the technology capital of the world,” said Deltas CEO Brian Andrés Helmick via email

“There is so much opportunity to enhance this experience that our biggest challenge will be to focus on the few, key features that truly elevate the fan experience,” Helmick said. “We don’t want to overwhelm fans with the possibilities.”

• What's next for Tom Jackson, ESPN's NFL coverage?

The character of the organization is built upon three ideas: Innovation, transparency, and community. It’s clear that the team plans on using technology that reflects those ideas.

AI ticketing” is one of the Deltas’ plans. Also referred to as “smart ticketing” by a Deltas spokesperson, it will allow fans to have some agency in who they sit with at the game.

Be it letting fans sit with other families, those who share a passion for a particular international team or other loud, energetic Deltas fans, for example, the team wants to be able to build a community around a soccer game.

That also means building a community around food. Because Kezar Stadium, the Deltas’ current home field, has no built-in concession, the team plans on letting fans vote on what food trucks they want at the game, the spokesperson said.

“The fans are the heart and soul of a club. Period,” Helmick said via email. “We listen and listen and listen to our fans. We want to build a club that they can be proud of.”

• Blind mountain biker uses wearable to navigate trails

The Deltas see part of that is utilizing creative ways to change how fans consume soccer. They will seek to use virtual reality to “help enhance player training as well as give fans an inside look” into the experience of playing soccer professionally.

In terms of using technology and advanced statistics to build the team that will ultimately hit the pitch at Kezar, Helmick sees major opportunity.

“This is an area that we are very excited to explore. This type of data analysis and expertise will take some time to develop, but we are very excited about the potential,” Helmick explained.

The incredible data behind this year’s Tour de France

For now, the team is focused on establishing partners and looking for a Head Coach to lead the charge. For later, Helmick and the Deltas have big plans to make a difference.

“I don’t come from money and I think it’s important that we create a club that is accessible to all members of our community,” Helmick shared. “We believe that technology can play a key role in facilitating that accessibility. More on that in the coming months.”

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.