TMCnet Feature
May 29, 2020

How Technology Is Changing The Sports Industry

Technology is slowly but surely changing every single aspect of our lives. From the way we travel and the way we take care of our health, to how we are entertained, technology has found a way to influence our actions and experiences.

Let’s explore what technology is doing to the industry of sport, where man’s athletic ability has always been (and still is) at the forefront.

Viewing experience

When HD screens became the norm, the world of sport was changed forever. The experience of enjoying a game from home suddenly became comparable to (and may have even surpassed) a live stadium experience.

As 4k screens become more widely accessible, and as 5k and 8k are becoming available, we are able to experience a match like never before.

There’s also the fact that on-demand and pay-per-view games and matches are making even the most exclusive games available to a wider audience. Plus, you can now watch a sporting event on your phone, on the road, in high resolution. All this has not only made sports more accessible, but it has also earned clubs and broadcasters more money than ever before.

Tracking performance

Technology has probably made the biggest impact on the world of sports in the way it has enhanced athlete performance over the years.

Timekeeping has become ever-increasingly sophisticated. It is more reliable than ever, making runners, cyclists, swimmers, and all other kinds of athletes better able to track their performance to a field standard.

There are advanced simulators available for practically any discipline, which makes training and honing one’s skills easier than before. Anything from a Formula 1 simulator to a stationary bike that simulates the conditions of an open road (minus the weather conditions) is available to pros and amateurs alike.

Even the game of golf, which you would think will forever be dependent on the green, has benefited from technological meddling, as launch monitors have changed how people play, making them more accurate.

There are also examples of high-profile collaborations between tech giants and sports clubs. For example, the Toronto Raptors have been working with IBM on a talent evaluation system, which gathers all kinds of data relevant to recruitment, making decisions easier to make.

Real Madrid has partnered up with Microsoft on another piece of software that makes analyzing data collected during a match or a training session easier. Physicians and coaches can access information gathered by the wearables players use while out on the pitch, helping them make the right decisions in real-time.

Replacing human error

The Hawkeye system has been in place in cricket and tennis for years now, and has, to a degree, eliminated human error from the game. True, we are still not at a stage where each and every ball is reviewed, but that may be the case in years to come.

The Hawkeye system tracks and traces the trajectory and speed of the ball, as well as its pitch and bounce, and has made viewing these sports much more engaging.

The VAR system has also made its impact on football, as it allows referees to rewind an action and make a decision in real-time. This is of particular importance in situations where they were simply not on the ball (pun intended). However, since the decision is still up to a human, technology is only an aid here, and not the be-all and end-all of the game.

Final thoughts

Of course, there are other technological advancements that play a huge role in sports – let’s just remember the special suits worn by the US swimming team at the 2008 Olympic Games. There are smarter and lighter shoes, suits, balls, and bats, as technology and the way we approach sports will forever be connected.

However, let’s not forget that the sporting industry is still about applauding human endeavor and triumph over oneself and others. And that no matter how advanced our tech becomes, our bodies will still be the ones doing the lifting, the running, and the jumping – whether they are encased in high tech or not.

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