Technological innovations have transformed every industry, and the sports industry is no exception. From wearable athletic equipment to virtual fan experiences, technology plays an increasingly integral role in sport, making it more accessible than ever before. This has led to some truly unique innovations, with sports now more enjoyable for fans and athletes alike.
In this article, we'll explore some of the most fascinating examples of how technology is transforming the world of sports.
- Fan Experience
- Ticket Buying
- Performance and Analysis Tracking
- Instant Replay and Decision Making Technology
- Sponsor Opportunities
- Sports Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention
- Fantasy Sports Leagues
- Wider Coverage
Sports fans have evolved from only being interested in the match alone, now, fans want exclusive content including behind the scenes insight into life of their favourite teams and players. The fan experience can be significantly enhanced through technology.
With the closure of stadiums during the pandemic, sports organisations quickly pivoted, with some professional teams investing in immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) creating a whole new experience for fans to enjoy around the world. They can also offer hyper-personalised experiences based on fan preferences and increase fan engagement through leveraging customer relationship management data.
Technology has drastically helped ticket offices and the dreaded long ticket queues match-day goers often experience.
These days, tickets are mainly purchased online, either direct through the team you support, league or ticket-selling websites. Ticket purchasing technology also enables you to select which seat you want and through automation, can instantly send purchased tickets to your email address.
Performance Analysis and Tracking
Sport performance analysis and tracking is more prominent in sports than ever before. Through technological innovation, players and coaches can accurately track performance stats that haven’t before been possible. Some examples of this include wearable sensors, velocity tracking, local positioning systems and performance heat maps.
One of the first performance analysis technologies was from 2001 through the introduction of a computer system called Hawkeye. It had a significant impact on cricket, generating statistical analysis including ball trajectory, ball speed and placement on the field. It used in other sports, including tennis where it’s used to determine whether a shot is in or out.
Through this type of technology, streams of data can be accessed and analysed to make improvements to player and/or team performance. Tracking doesn’t just help the pros in their performance; now, beginners can track their performance using devices like smartwatches and smartphone apps.
Instant Replay and Decision Making Technology
Technology has developed in many ways other than for the fans; back in the day, there was no such thing as instant replay, and if there were, it was a low quality which made it harder for officials to make the right calls. Technology today has come a long way in terms of the quality of replay.
We can now see what happened on the court or fields in slow motion and from various angles. This ensures better accuracy in deciding what the best outcome should be in terms of what was needed to be replayed. It allows sports to be much more fair and accurate, meaning fans aren’t as frustrated with potentially wrong decisions.
There is now software available that also helps referees with their decisions, calculating statistics that the naked eye would struggle to see. Hawkeye, the analysis technology touched on earlier in the article, is also used for decision-making purposes.
Decision-making technology can show stats such as ball speed, ball pitch on the wicket, whether a ball is offside, ball trajectory and many more. This software helps officials make decisions, allows the audience to understand the reasoning behind these decisions, and makes them feel involved.
Sports fans have become increasingly receptive to personalised engagement from teams and players alike, now, fans are also interacting with the media applications more than ever before creating new sponsor opportunities.
Personalised and targeted adverts are used across almost all industries with sport being no exception. It is reported these types of ads are twice as effective as non-targeted ads.
According to 2022 digital media trends report by Deloitte, 71% of consumers would rather see ads focused on their interests, and 60% of millennials would actively share their data for promotions and offers.
Through targeted adverts, sports organisations can track, analyse and interpret the data to gain a better understanding of what engages and excites their fans providing sponsors insight into engagement models for different audiences.
Sports Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention
The possibility of getting injured is one of the harsh realities of every sport. Playing at professional levels imposes a higher risk as players will be performing at maximum effort, and an injury is an unfortunate cost of playing at the edge. Thankfully, technology now has made it much easier to prevent and identify injuries more quickly and accurately.
For example, bio-harnesses sensors are now used on players so coaches/trainers can monitor a player's fatigue level, heat stress, dehydration, exertion and maximum effort level. Having this data to hand helps trainers determine when the athlete has exhausted themselves to the highest level they can handle, preventing overtraining and risk of injury.
Fantasy Sports Leagues
Watching sports isn’t the only way for fans to enjoy their favourite sports anymore; the introduction of fantasy leagues has opened up a whole new world for fans to be more engaged and involved in the sports they love. Fans can compete with friends and with other fans from around the world.
Joining a fantasy league is a popular way of enhancing the fan's experience with the sport, allowing them to make decisions they’d want their team's managers to make whilst also competing against friends and fans worldwide. It also encourages fans to watch and observe the sport outside the games themselves so it can help with their fantasy league choices.
Technology adoption in the betting sector has shaped a whole new world of gambling. Most people could only place a bet by visiting a local bookies. Now betting platforms like Bet365 offer innovative apps with added features like in-play betting that were not possible before.
Online betting platforms and apps enables fans to place bets quickly and securely with improved payment methods and enhanced security protection, making transactions simple and user-friendly.
The data provided by the sports teams, sponsorship brands and betting sites themselves can be used to make informed bets. The results of these matches will now come with extra information that helps fans get more out of their gambling experience while also engaging in conversation about what's happening on-field or even behind closed doors.
The amount of accessibility and coverage available in recent times has been one of the most significant technological advancements in the sports industry. Beforehand, to be able to watch a game, fans must be on select networks at the right time to be able to watch the action. Now, coverage is widely available mostly anytime and anywhere with fans able to access and watch their favourite sports on devices such as phones, tablets, computers and more.
If fans are unable to tune into a live game, they no longer have to wait until the papers are released the next day to find out what the results were. These days, fans can watch on the go and be able to follow along with live updates via apps, online or through social media.
Sports channels have the technology to get live information and content out to the public faster than ever before, with instant and on-demand content. The rise of social media has also helped play a part in this as it’s no longer just about watching these events on TV; you can connect with others online and find information from the teams and players posting through their own channels.