It’s fair to say that technology has completely transformed sport both how we consume it and how it plays out on the pitch.
It’s caused controversy, improved results and generally made everything a little bit more accurate. But how exactly is it improving sport for both fans and athletes?
Let’s start with the people who matter the most, the fans. Where once fans would have to listen out on the radio to hear their team’s final score, we can now follow every second live, whether that be via social media, expertly designed match engines or even streaming the game on your mobile, iPad or even television.
Live sports streaming has made supporting our teams or athletes easier than ever before, with bookmaker betting apps like William Hill and Bet365 now even allowing you to do so.
That’s an incredible step forward and is synchronising two cultural phenomenons – streaming and gambling – into one, easy-to-use app.
Punters are able to stream a range of sports including Darts, Rugby and of course Football and they are all incredibly easy to stream, and a huge part of how we consume sports today.
But streaming only takes up one screen in a multi-screen world. Smartphones and social media are keeping us up-to-date more than ever before and even bringing fans closer to athletes in a time when the divide is huge.
This year’s World Cup was prime example of that. Social media brought fans across the world together, particularly in England, and set a new example for how fans and players can both embrace tech.
Of course, when it comes to the sports themselves, technology is at the very forefront of performance. Almost every top level sport has groundbreaking technology behind it. None more so than the likes of tennis, which has been pushing boundaries with Hawkeye for years.
Hawkeye will accurately recognise when a ball goes out of play and such was the impression it left, it’s been brought into other sports too. Cricket has long been using the technology to help detect LBW decisions while goal line technology is now also commonplace in Football.
Which leads to the next step, VAR. Virtual assistant referees are slowly creeping into the football mainstream and is set to be introduced to the Premier League next season.
It proved to be a huge success during the World Cup and has already been rolled out in a number of different leagues across Europe.
As well as on the pitch, it is also improving the quality of sport off it too.
Teams can analyse performance to the minutest of details, monitoring distances run by athletes, heart rates, speed and of course review general tactics and performance.
This can all then be used to focus on areas that need improvement and detail specific tactics and information that can give the edge over an opponent.
While many of the romantics might say sport isn’t the same as it used to be, it can’t be argued that quality has improved dramatically, whether you’re a fan or athlete.
That’s only going to continue further with new innovative tech finding its way into our hands and onto our fields. And it’s most certainly for the better.