Cutting-edge technology has infiltrated almost every industry. The world of sports hasn’t fallen behind. New tech has made sports safer for athletes, more accessible to fans. and easier to enjoy for all. No matter where they may be or what limitations they may have. From what the athletes wear, to the way games are viewed. Here are the three specific ways tech is quietly revolutionizing the world of sports.
Tech is changing the ways in which fans interact with sports. The traditional way of lining up for tickets is no longer the norm, for instance. Today, fans who can tap their screens the fastest get the best seats in the house – but even that might change soon. European soccer clubs like Paris Saint-Germain have explored the use of cryptocurrencies for ticket buying as well as giving their fans a voice. Blockchain technology will bestow voting rights to their super fans in certain matters involving the team, such as the color of their new uniforms, or even which teams to play against. The NBA’s Dallas Mavericks announced a similar option for fans last year. Further signaling that cryptocurrency and its underlying tech are becoming part of the sports scene.
On a somewhat related note (given cryptocurrency’s slow creep into betting markets), improvements in software have also altered the sports betting scene. Live bookies and empty casino sportsbooks have largely been replaced by state-of-the-art betting websites and accompanying apps that offer an incredible range of odds listings, tips, and guides. Those inclined to bet can now do so with more assurances of security and fairness, more information at hand, and a cleaner, more streamlined process.
Coverage & Consumption
For people who can’t watch sports live, waiting for prime-time broadcasting used to be the only option. But today, online streaming is taking over live broadcasts and making them more widely accessible. This has been a monumental development given that not everyone has a cable subscription or even a television at home anymore, but the majority of people have at least one handheld device. Streaming can essentially put live broadcasts in people’s pockets – no matter what TV channels they subscribe to, where they’re physically located, or what events are occurring live.
Live broadcasts aside, today’s sporting events are covered in various additional ways by all kinds of media as well. You can replay highlights on different streaming services, like YouTube and Instagram; you can catch post-game interviews through Facebook’s live video option; you can tune in to live Twitter updates during or immediately following a sporting event. In theory, you can “watch” a game without actually watching it just by tracking the social media updates (which can be particularly handy, if, say, you don’t have the time to watch a 90-minute soccer match).
There are also more high-tech ways to view games, particularly following the emergence of virtual reality (VR). For example, Verizon hosted a VR Super Bowl LII experience through which lucky participants were instantly transported to US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis via VR goggles. Aside from experiencing games in real time, VR can also display stats and scores conveniently, so that fans never have to take their eyes off the action.
Gear & Apparel
Perhaps more important than any of the above for sports’ long-term viability is the fact that gear and equipment have also been given tech-based makeovers. Today, there are sensors embedded into gadgets that monitor a users’ vitals; athletes can take advantage of posture-correcting shirt; and there’s special compression gear designed to keep the body as healthy and injury-free as possible during strenuous athletic performance.
In addition to those examples of what are becoming fairly popular wearable tech products (even well beyond high-level sports and into amateur areas), there are also some more specialized tech products coming out to keep athletes safe. One prominent example is the emergence of 3D-printed helmets for NFL players. Aside from being custom-made, what makes them special is a new material that can “absorb and dissipate the energy created by every point of impact.” This reportedly softens blows, and may just prevent some of the serious head injuries and long-term trauma that have become so problematic in football.
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