In the last few decades, technology has completely changed our society and it’s integrated into our daily lives in so many ways. We are all reliant on computers and smartphones and new technology has transformed the way that companies operate. But there are some areas where the impact of technology is not always so obvious, like sports.
We don’t tend to think about the way that technology has changed sports because the rules of most sports are largely the same as they have been for decades. But the impact that technology has had on the way that sports are played and watched is huge. These are some of the big changes that come into effect when technology meets sport.
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Sports coverage is very sparse at the moment because the current situation means that most fixtures have been cancelled. But now that the Premier League is starting to get back to normal and people are looking for the best places to watch the games, the role of technology is more important than ever. Due to social distancing rules, football matches are being played without crowds, so fans will have to watch from the comfort of their own home. Luckily, that’s easier than ever due to technology.
You can, of course, still watch a lot of the big games on TV, but that’s not the only option anymore. Many streaming services, like Amazon Prime, have the rights to certain matches so you can watch on your phone or laptop, or on a smart TV. Even the TV providers, like Sky and BT, have their own online streaming apps so even if you can’t get to a TV, you won’t miss any of the action. As long as you have good broadband speeds,of which you can find the best options at Broadband Choices, the quality will be just as good as if you were watching the games on TV, so you have a lot more flexibility.
Technology also means that fans have access to far more information about teams and players than they have ever had before. In the past, you had games on TV and you could watch the highlights, but now you can head over to sports news sites whenever you like to get all of the latest player news and analysis of games. Even if you are unable to watch the games on TV or on a streaming site, you can still follow the scores, which are updated in real time.
Social media allows you to find your favorite players and follow their lives off the pitch, making sports coverage a lot more personal. It also means that fans can engage in conversation about their favorite sports with people from all around the world.
Fantasy sports is another great innovation that allows fans to take on the role of a manager, running their own team and translating real life sporting events into fictional matches. Although fantasy sports have been around for a while, technology makes it easier than ever to track points and organize your team, so watching sports is more immersive than ever.
In the past, buying tickets for fixtures was a bit of a hassle. The big games would sell out quickly and if you didn’t want to watch the games on TV, your only option was scalping. This meant heading down to the stadium and finding somebody outside who was selling tickets at an inflated price. It also meant that if you bought tickets but then you couldn’t attend the game for some reason, it was difficult to sell those tickets on unless you knew somebody that wanted them.
But now, the process of buying tickets is easier than ever because you can get them online. This means that everybody has a fair chance of getting tickets and, as long as you have a good broadband speed, you can quickly buy them from home as soon as they are released. This inspires more people to attend games and stops people from buying up all of the tickets right away. There are also plenty of sites where you can sell tickets if you can’t attend the match, and the fact that it’s so much easier means that people are unable to charge over the odds for second hand tickets.
Equipment and Safety
Some of the biggest changes to sport come on the pitch, especially where equipment and safety are concerned. Although the rules of many sports haven’t changed, the way that they are played certainly has. For example, the Premier League introduced the VAR system in recent years and it has changed the way that referees make their decisions. In the past, it was down to the judgment of the referees and linesmen and, in many cases, there was a lot of contention about difficult calls, which often led to controversy amongst fans. But now, the VAR (virtual assistant referee) system allows for detailed video replay so any disputes can be settled. Although many fans are against the use of VAR because it interrupts the flow of the game, especially for fans in attendance, and it can still make mistakes, it has certainly changed the way that football in the Premier League is officiated.
Equipment that the players use on the pitch has changed a lot due to technology as well. Boots, for example, used to be fairly simple and didn’t give much of an advantage. But these days, there is a huge amount of analysis of things like foot shape and gait, and companies are designing boots that are optimized for peak performance and comfort on the pitch. New equipment is also making contact sports, like American football, a lot safer. Smart tech helmets have sensors and magnets built in so they can detect and disperse force in the right way when a player is hit. This has had a drastic impact on the number of concussions sustained during play and will protect the long term health of players. The helmets will also immediately alert the managers when a player is hit, so they can check on them and ensure that they are safe before play continues.
These are just some of the ways that technology has changed sports both on and off the pitch.