Advancements in technology are radically shifting the sports entertainment landscape. These technologies have affected both the sporting events and the fan experience, whether watching an event in person or at home.
1) Goal-line Technology
After years of debating between fans, officials, football clubs and more, the Football Association finally decided to implement goal-line technology in the Premier League. It works in a similar way to how Hawk-Eye technology can tell whether a ball is in or out in tennis. Tennis arguable has the best replay experience across all sport.
At the moment the FA is only using goal-line technology to detect whether the ball has fully crossed the goal-line to register as a legal goal. Many believe in the future it will be expanded to cover the ball going out for corners, throw-ins and more. This is similar to how a video referee and replays are currently being used in live rugby matches. This is a big first step for the Premier League. FIFA used goal-line technology during the 2014 World Cup and according to regulations it may be used in 2018 as well.
2) Wi-Fi Connectivity and Smartphones
Social media and the use of smartphones both at sporting events and when watching on TV at home, the pub or elsewhere have provided an extra dimension to the sporting experience. Various teams and clubs have embraced the importance of Wi-Fi connectivity for fans; a good example is the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center.
This is one of the most connected stadiums in the world. About a third of fans access the stadium’s Wi-Fi every game night. In response, the Nets developed an app that shows instant replays from various angles on an individual’s smartphone. Fans can also easily order food and drink from their seats or even upgrade their seats where possible.
3) Wearable Technology
Wearable technology adoption rates are increasing and these devices are being utilized in many sports. Smartwatches are useful for referees, not just for telling the time, but for communicating with other officials. In the 2014 World Cup, officials wore smartwatches that vibrated and displayed “GOAL” once a goal was made. The system developed by a company called GoalControl has cameras set up around the field and signals when a goal is made.
Athletes and sports teams are also utilizing wearable technologies to monitor individuals’ performance and progress. The data from sports brands and other technologies can be transferred and analyzed by experts to identify areas to improve. With apps like ESPN, MLB at Bat, TheScore, NBA Game Time and Golfshot, spectators can watch replays and view statistics more easily rather than having to constantly dig into their pockets for their phones.
What technologies have you seen being used in sports?
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