Sport is a big part of our lives. It’s a great form of exercise that can help keep our bodies working at their optimal level and our minds as sharp as a tack. Partaking in team sports is also a superb way to make new friends and socialize with existing ones.
But sport often runs much deeper than that. It’s part of our culture and can even form part of our identity, as we associate ourselves with either a particular sport, competition, team or athlete.
We can see this clearly in English soccer, the nation that invented the sport has a deep and passionate love for it. Up and down the country, people spend their entire lives supporting their local team, often following in the footsteps of their immediate ancestors. This leads many soccer fans to closely align themselves with the club, making friends who share the same allegiance, and visiting pubs and events frequented by like-minded supporters.
So with sport playing such an important role in our lives, it is only logical that other key areas of our experience would affect it. None more so than technology, with advancements in many areas changing the way we play, watch, and officiate just about every conceivable sport on the planet.
The most influential and consequential technology of them all, the internet, has had the biggest impact on sports at all levels. It’s not finished either, as new advancements and innovations continue to impact and improve competition.
Making Sports Broadcasting Interactive
The creation of live TV was one of the biggest changes to ever touch sport. It turned professional leagues from niche affairs for only the most diehard of supporters to something that could be enjoyed by even the most casually interested.
TV also allowed major leagues to become the huge businesses that they are today by charging eye-watering sums for networks to have the right to air games over the airwaves. Sponsorship deals also became more lucrative as the larger audiences meant brands could get more eyes on their marketing through association with a sports team.
But before the internet, sports broadcasting was one-directional. The commentators and presenters would sit in a studio, talk about what to expect in the match, talk during the game, and then discuss the events in the aftermath. At home, the audience could do nothing but watch and shout aimlessly at their television when a player did something they disagreed with.
The internet has changed that though, creating ways for fans to get involved in the sports broadcasting experience.
One way this has happened is through social media. Twitter, in particular, has been a big driver of interactive spectatorship as people can use hashtags to add their thoughts to a global conversation about the events taking place during a game.
Fans, teams, players, and television presenters can all come together in this digital space and bounce off each other. Some broadcasts even include sections for fan comments, either by presenters reading them out, or by showing them on the screen.
Some sports leagues have even created special elements to encourage interaction. For example, Formula 1 has a “driver of the day” poll during each race where fans can vote about which racer they felt has done the best during a Grand Prix. The all-electric Formula E series has taken this concept a step further with its Fan boost feature which grants short bursts of extra energy for drivers that receive the most votes before a race.
In the coming years, we can expect this to be taken even further, with new technologies helping fans to get even more involved in their favorite sports.
Improving the Betting Experience
Sports betting is almost as old as sport. There is evidence that wagers were placed on major competitions in the ancient civilizations of Rome and Greece, and it is entirely possible that the practice goes back much further than that.
However, the process of placing a bet was quite convoluted in the past as fans would have to physically visit a sportsbook to see the odds and decide whether to make a wager. They would then either have to stay at the sportsbook or return later to collect any winnings if their bet was successful.
The internet has done away with the need to traipse to a bookie in person. Instead, fans can load up a website on their computer or tap on an app to see what markets are available, and place a wager.
The internet has also increased competition in the sports betting space as more brands look to gain a market share. The result of this is that many of these sportsbooks have begun to offer free bets to new customers when they register and make a deposit. But there are now so many of these promotions to choose from that sites like OddsChecker have stepped in to help improve the experience of finding the best ones.
Making Sport Measurable
When you watch professional sports on TV, commentators can reel of a list of statistics about each player and team, covering everything from their height to how many times they can convert a shot from a specific place on a field.
In the past, much of this data was collected by hand, having a team of spotters near the sidelines watching everything that goes on and keeping a tally of everything. This is a practice that continues today, but it’s being helped, improved, and expanded by technology.
Competitions from the English Premier League to the National Hockey League are installing sensors, cameras, and other equipment in their stadiums to keep a track of every player and the ball/puck to provide stats like shot speed in real-time.
Some of this data is fed back to fans who are watching along on TV while more is kept for the referees officiating the game and the team coaches that are trying to devise the best tactics. Many teams even employ their own in-house analysts to interpret the data they receive and aid decision making.
Making everything more measurable allows fans to get a better understanding of what’s going on, improves the fairness of games by preventing erroneous decisions, and helps to improve the performance of player