While the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are constants in the sporting universe, technology is changing the very nature of the athletic realm. From huge pools of data on players and fans to bleeding-edge equipment not even dreamed of 30 years ago, sports are melting into the digital age quickly. Here are five ways technology is affecting today’s athletic events—and the athletes who participate in them.
1. Analytics Builds Winning Teams
No longer do team managers and owners huff and puff in late-night meetings and make decisions based on experience and gut feelings. Today’s winning teams, whether in basketball or hockey, are built using cold hard facts. Managers use analytics to track players and study team weaknesses and strengths.
Advanced cameras record every hit, shot, and run and translate these digital records into formulas team officials use to create plays. If a team is weak in a particular area, recruiters use data to focus on finding athletes to fill those gaps.
2. Advanced Digital Developments Create Opportunities
Forward-thinking entrepreneurs can truly make their own opportunities if they understand how they can make advanced digital tools work to their advantage. Today’s athletes and business owners are marketing themselves to a global fan base for huge exposure and lots of money. The Internet of Things, an advanced machine-dominated network of communicating devices, contributes to the abilities of technology to allow self-starters to build new athletic empires and market them. Data organization on systems such as TeamSnap’s sport league management app involves compiling and keeping information easily accessible.
3. Data Dominates Sports for More Wins
In today’s digital-focused world, athletics is about data and statistics. Gone are the days of inspiring speeches that sought to fire up hearts. Modern events are run and driven by pure data. Players wear cameras and tracking tools implanted in their equipment to capture every move and measure each step.
From the huge amount of data gathered, managers study individual players and change lineups. They reward players who deliver performances that yield wins and perhaps trade away those they see as weaker team members.
4. Virtual Reality Improves Actual Games
Another way technology is influencing sports involves Virtual Reality (VR). This type of digital advancement allows players to train effectively without the risk of injuries. A quarterback in football, for example, can practice throwing in an immersive on-the-field experience, or a soccer player can work on passing.
Virtual Reality also helps fans. They are able to virtually move their seats anywhere for great views. In the future, VR might even be the first choice to view athletic events, since attending them can be quite expensive. Fans can even participate in sports, courtesy of VR. They can do a victory dance with their favorite athlete, for example. No more armchair quarterbacking.
5. Digital Tools Make Refereeing Easier
No longer are teams and fans at the mercy of a referee’s call, especially one that is questionable or obviously wrong. Referees are, after all, only human. They make mistakes. Virtual Reality and advanced cameras are eliminating the occurrence of inaccurate play calls.
However, athletic traditionalists object to this digital encroachment as it does remove an important human element in sports. Sporting events with every bit of humanity removed become something entirely different from the athletics of days gone by. Automation will have far-reaching effects on the industry. The fan base could drastically change, as those who wish to see athletes pit their skills against a challenge rather than machines click out data abandon sports events altogether.
Athletics in the modern digital era is changing. Sports teams are embracing technology for everything from devising lineups to making plays to devising more effective practice sessions. Fans can use developments such as Virtual Reality to participate in games as never before. Only time will tell what further changes may come.