Every industry in the world has been impacted or influenced by technology, and the sports sector is no expectation. Sports today is not simply about physical fitness and real-life events, it has been transformed by emerging technology, and these tech innovations are changing the sports industry positively.
With the help of technology, sports have become safer and more competitive. Tech has also helped in improving fan experience, adding to their experience and also bringing them more opportunities to connect with players and the game at large. A decade ago, fans were not as deeply involved or fully grasped the industry’s current state as they do today, and that is how technology has contributed to the industry.
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Here are some examples of what the sports industry has built over the years with the help of emerging technologies:
Fantasy Sports Leagues
To give sports enthusiasts an immersive experience to help them stay hooked on their favourite sports, Fantasy sports leagues have been introduced. They help fans enter a fantasy league as general managers who develop their teams based on present-day events in sports tournaments. With the help of the internet, it has been convenient for any sports fan today to be part of a fantasy league and manage their own. Fans, via this medium, can keep track of various player performances and stats and decide how to manage their team and who to add and replace.
Data, stats and analytics
Never has it been easier to maintain player statistics. Technology has made it possible to track each player’s stats. One such example is SportVU, a program that records every occurrence on the basketball court, such as where the ball will pass/ is passing and the further progress of the athlete.
Today, there are sports data analytics start-ups that are focused on single games/ sports like Kabaddi, Cricket, Football, Tennis and many others with a set of data scientists who have built a sea of information from each game, each series and tournament for the players, teams and overall sports. With the help of these data points, teams/ managers can now make improvements in their play and employ/ stats to enhance their game strategy and lead their team to wins.
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These wearable devices today expand beyond just a Fitbit band or the basic pedometers. The variety and versatility in the functioning are not simply astonishing but commendable to expand our vision into what they can detect and offer as data.
From smart glasses for cyclists that help to build and show routes in real-time to goggles for swimmers that collect information metrics on the go, and sensor-enabled shoes for football players and runners for track speed, force, motion and more.
There are also full-body suits today that track performance and muscle coordination, monitor each aspect during training and help enhance the experience with AR/VR effects. Not simply do these wearables work for professionals but also for people who are undergoing therapy/ rehabilitation after traumas.
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One of the most recent sport technology advancements is the digital gaming industry for sports, which has been under a boom. This includes eRacing, fighting games, shooters and much more, built around PC gaming and mobile gaming, further enhanced and supported by the immersive experiences of AR/VR technologies.
Another key digital technology in the sports industry is Cloud. Today modern cloud platforms enable global distribution, offering broader scalability and efficiency of almost any online sports solution. This includes fitness apps for many consumers worldwide to professional athlete performance analytics.
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Blockchain and NFT
These two widely popular IT technologies have had a significant impact on sports. They, in fact, are two of the major drivers in sports today.
Fan tokens, digital collectables, digital tickets, loyalty programs, multiple collaborations with digital businesses for curated and limited edition collectables and more are bringing an audience of million closer to their desired clubs, sports teams, events etc. All are powered by Blockchain and NFT technologies.
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Some other vital drivers from technology’s viewpoint are also seen in sports equipment. Today we have smart workout equipment enabled with sensors to help avoid injuries and enhance efficiency, connected gear like smart suits, glasses, helmets etc., that offer essential insights for building training programs, enhanced sports areas that are extensive facilities like stadiums, racing tracks etc. with enhanced sensors, electricity management systems and more that helps these facilities turn into smarter workspaces.
There is also no doubt that the significant trends are influenced by IoT and AI, which have substantially impacted the industry. We can only wait to see how this sector expands further to offer immersive experiences via the metaverse in years to come.