How Technology Is Changing Sports

At its core, sports is a competition between two teams or individuals in a battle to see which is the most successful. Whether it is goals, baskets, points, or impressing the judges, sports determines the better athlete or athletes. It is this simplicity that has attracted millions of fans – across all sports – for centuries.

But that is not to say that all kinds of sports have not changed remarkably in recent years. As technological advances have allowed sports athletes to hone their craft – and fans to stream live events and place bets at the best sportsbook online – these developments have revolutionized the way sports is enjoyed and played.

With further advances being made all the time, the world of sports looks very different to the one that previous generations enjoyed. But it is also constantly evolving on many levels. Here are a few ways that tech has changed sports – ways that have not always been entirely welcomed by the fans and players.

The Viewing Experience

We have come a long way since the days of listening to championship boxing bouts on the radio or finding out the latest scores in the next day’s newspapers. We now live in a time of immediacy and the technology available has made the viewing experience more involved and direct.

Televised sports and live streaming means that just about every, even relatively major, event can be watched from the comfort of your own home – or even on the move, thanks to mobile phones. We are used to an immersive experience now, even if we are nowhere near the stadium where the event is taking place.

Wearables for Sports Athletes

Fans used to see replacements and substitutes running onto the field of play and delivering the latest instructions from the coaches. But now there is the ability to convey new tactics via headsets in football helmets, for example. Even basic communication is aided by pitch-side tech.

However, there is a greater development in wearables for sports athletes that helps with coaching. These garments are worn by the athletes during training and in games and collect almost unlimited amounts of data on the performance. This data can then be analyzed (using yet more new tech) in a bid to improve performance and, ultimately, results.

Video Assistants

Referees and umpires have always relied on assistants to make their decisions in a variety of sports. But now it is not just the on-field assistants that can have an impact on the game. Goal-line technology has helped decide close calls in football and soccer but it is the recent implementation of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) that has proved more controversial.

Systems like VAR have been used in football intermittently for years but soccer introduced this extra piece of tech at its FIFA World Cup in 2018 and it has now been rolled out in most of the major leagues. It is fair to say that it hasn’t always been greeted with open arms. Long waiting periods and seemingly inexplicable decisions have made VAR almost universally hated by the fans. It seems as though VAR is here to stay in soccer but some fine-tuning is definitely in order.

Sports Management

It is not just viewers at home and on-field umpires that have benefitted from tech in sports. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the buzz phrase in all aspects of technology in recent times and it has been put into practice to help design, build, and manage, sports venues all over the world.

Connectivity has been at the heart of creating the best fan experience at sports venues and we now have some incredible stadiums to enjoy top events in. But tech is working behind the scenes as well, ensuring that security and safety are at the forefront of these developments. Once the perfect setting is designed and built for the fans, they can then use even more technology to enjoy a greater immersive experience and get more out of their visit to the stadium.

Sports Medicine
Figure 2 Even the stadiums have benefited from technological advances

Sports Medicine

We have already mentioned how sports athletes’ wearables can help with performance. This is especially true when it comes to preventing injuries or identifying the risk of athletes getting hurt. But further advances have made recovery times much shorter as technology has boosted sports medicine.

Robotics and 3D printing can help with diagnosis and treatment, while there is even the opportunity to construct orthopedic prostheses if needed. Even the development of more robust protective gear has helped players in some sports to be secure in the knowledge that there is less chance of falling victim to diseases and conditions that have plagued sports in the past.

The Future of Sports Technology

Although sports is still the same at its core, it is undeniable that technology has completely revolutionized the way that it is played and enjoyed. Athletes, coaches, and fans have all benefited from the developments we have seen in recent years. As with any kind of new technology, not all of these have been universally welcomed or immediately positive for sports. But as long as the technology is consistently being updated and reviewed, it is making sports better for everyone.

We are likely to see greater use of AI and AR in sports and sports business in the years to come. Athletes are sure to benefit even more from the way that technology can prolong their careers. With greater innovation inevitable in the world of sports, we are excited to see how technology can have even more of an impact in the future.

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