Sport is big business. You only have to look at the salaries that some of the world’s biggest sports stars get to see that there are billions of dollars changing hands.
As sport has grown to the global phenomenon we know, so has tech. We use it for everything, from ordering groceries to discovering new types of supernova in space, and of course, for sports.
As well as embracing some big changes in the world of tech, sport has actually driven some of these changes, too. Is it a good thing? There will always be the school of thought that says sport was better in the old days, before tech took over. Let’s dive into some of the good and the bad of tech integration into sports.
Many of us are of an age where we remember having to get information on sporting results from newspapers. Even if this has a romantic feel to it, the truth is that it is much easier now.
The entertainment we get from being able to watch live matches and stream sports events is thanks to technology, and while this isn’t strictly tech integration in the same way as VAR in soccer, we have it to thank for keeping up with the football scores.
The fact that you can use Betsafe live to track games live and place bets on the outcome of Premier League games means that we can all feel that bit more connected to sports.
When a sports team spends a fortune on a prized asset, they are always going to track their performance, and this includes their physical performance. Before they start out and sign those multimillion-dollar contracts, they will go through an intensive set of medical checks.
These checks are a form of tech integration, with sport being at the forefront of technology to track a person’s heart rate and the reaction of their body.
Sport can also be a powerful driving force in improving technology and making breakthroughs in treating injuries using tech, as sports teams fight to get their best players back on to the field.
Probably the most debated area of tech integration in sport is on-field technology, which is used in most sports with varying degrees of success. Soccer’s VAR is the cause of some huge arguments in the press.
VAR can take some time to reach a decision, and a match that would have been over in 90 minutes can take significantly longer. On top of that, some people think that it doesn’t even make better decisions, overall. There has been a big backlash to the use of VAR in soccer as a result, and the way in which it is used is changing all the time.
Compare this to technology used in sports such as tennis. A challenge system on close calls for foul balls has become a mainstay, and though it occasionally causes a short moment of controversy, the tech is pretty reliable and people are usually happy to accept the results. It is quick and efficient.
While many want to limit the application of technology in sports, since sport is supposed to be about competition between humans, tech has become crucial in tracking sports stars and their performance, whether it be in-game trackers and wearable technology or just the ability to watch and analyze videos.
Many of the pioneering teams in world sports spend a lot of time and money on their performance analysis, and this can give them the cutting edge over the opposition. For instance, when it comes to scouting, we may be able to use more metrics than ever before to track a player’s speed, strength and even their work rate.
Has tech integration hit saturation point?
The debate will inevitably rumble on. Tech is such a huge part of everyday life in the modern age that it is inevitable that there will be more changes in the world of sport, and more technological advances.
The truth is that technology can help. It can ensure that the correct decisions get made in sporting events, help the referees and umpires, and even help to diagnose and correct medical issues, which can only be a good thing. There is a limit when it comes to watching sports, and ultimately, people don’t want their viewing experience to be impeded by tech, which is what we’ve seen with VAR in soccer.
Expect more technology to come into play soon, but as long as it is streamlined and efficient, and doesn’t give anyone an unfair or unnatural advantage, tech may not be a bad thing.