It took some time for technology to have an impact on society, but once it did, there was no looking back. Today, it affects virtually every aspect of modern life, including how we work, eat, communicate with one another, manage our health…the list is endless. There’s no major industry that doesn’t incorporate tech into its operations in a significant way.
Take sports, for example. It’s true that the sporting world was slightly slower to adopt technology than other industries. And this shouldn’t be too surprising — many of the major sports are steeped in history and tradition, which makes it (justifiably) more difficult to incorporate changes, especially ones as grand as the changes that technology brings.
But eventually, sports and technology got closer together. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the ways in which technology has had an impact on the sporting world.
More Interest in Sports
Much of the negative views of technology centre on how it has driven people to become less active. And there is some truth to that argument — technology is, without doubt, a contributing factor to the rising levels of obesity. However, there are some instances where technology has increased physical activity. Studies have shown that people that play sport-themed video games are more likely to play sports themselves. So in this sense, technology has led to an increased interest in sports.
And not only do sports video games make a person more likely to play sports, but they’ll also make them better at sports. Diving deep into, say, a football game will increase your understanding of the sport, and will allow you to make quicker decisions when you’re on the pitch.
The rise of technology, specifically the internet, has allowed sports fans to have a more “hands-on” connection to the sports they love. Rather than simply functioning as a passive receiver of the sporting spectacle, they’re able to involve themselves more directly. Through their smartphone, fans can test their sporting insight by betting in real-time using a risk-free bet; this only became possible once technology had reached such a standard that multiple companies could offer this service. Elsewhere, social media allows them to feel more connected to their teams (and the players that play for those teams), while sports subscription services allow fans to follow all the action of the sports they love (either in real-time or on-demand) no matter where they are.
If you think that sporting ability is better than it was in the past, then you’d be correct. The natural talent remains the same, but the optimisation of that talent has been perfected, thanks to technology. Today, sports data analysts use technology to give their athletic customers a competitive edge over their rivals. It wouldn’t be possible for Usain Bolt to run 100 metres in 9.58 seconds if he hadn’t had access to analysts that used technology to figure out how he could become the best athlete that he could be.
The Fairness of the Game
Nobody wants to lose a game because of an incorrect decision. People generally don’t want to win a game because of an incorrect decision (to a much lesser extent, of course). Yet, that used to happen all the time. Referees and umpires are only human, after all, and couldn’t be expected to get things right all the time. Today, many sports have incorporated technology into the decision-making process. These decisions are either made entirely by the technology, or the referee uses the tech to reach a decision. Of course, this process isn’t perfect, especially in football, where there have probably been too many incorrect VAR decisions. However, it’s still early days, so it’s likely that the kinks will be ironed out sooner or later. In other sports, tech has worked much more effectively — in tennis, for example.
These are the changes that have already occurred. And in the future? Who knows where tech will take sports. It’s likely that it’ll continue to enhance the fan experience, improve athletic performance, and continue to change the world of sports as we know it.