Digital technology has been a part of sports for around 60 years, but the majority of the advancements seen have occurred more recently. Digital innovation is constantly reaching new levels and producing better engagement for fans, and it doesn’t appear that this trend is going to trail off anytime soon. Adam Bjorn, a gaming industry executive and major sports fan, follows intently digital technology developments and provides insight into how it is shaping the future of sports.
Digital technology has helped improve sports on all sides. It not only helps athletes improve their abilities, but it helps to create new content that is attractive to fans and helps sports organizations home in on what drives interest. The current COVID-19 situation has shown how important digital technology is to the sports world, with fans forced to stay at home and broadcasters having to offer more ways to keep those fans entertained.
There has been a strong move toward multiple content channels sharing the same source of sports content simultaneously, allowing fans to interact with sports contests on virtually any platform at any given time. Sports coverage has come to social media solutions such as Facebook, Twitter and others, which would have never been possible without the technological advances seen in the sports industry over the past several years.
“Social media has become the ultimate tool for sports fans when chasing real-time information, weather and possible advantages in betting in general. Following athletes, sports organizations, local reporters for all teams, and even knowing who check in on when comes to nutritionists, physios and other average type positions within an organization or sport,” explains Bjorn.
Athletes are also getting a huge boost from digital technology. While the primary focus is obviously player safety, this also has positive outcomes for fans and the entire sports industry. The hyper-serious universe of pro athletics has ended up being an ideal proving ground, and the most conspicuous of these are wearable gadgets that measure vital biometric and execution information.
A few years ago, MLB approved certain wearable devices, including sleeves that measure elbow strain and ‘bioharnesses’ that catch pulses and breath. Over in the UK, Leicester City Football Club furnished its players with tools that record a scope of execution information, including speed, position and the effect of collisions with other players. Catching in excess of 800 data points every second, this data can help limit injuries and upgrade rest and recuperation periods.
Adds Bjorn, “When it comes to Big Data in the world of sports, data is king, but it’s funny how so many people have the exact same data and can come to a different conclusion on how the percentages are distributed on predicting the outcome of games. Through the use of machine learning, algorithms and AI, the presentation of data is improving, which allows sports fans to get closer to their favorite athletes and understand their performances better.”
More changes are expected to come, as well, as data collection and analysis improves. This is going to help produce even more interest and add greater entertainment value to all athletic competitions, driving numbers even higher. It will also improve the integrity of the game, which is something that has always been an issue. Says Bjorn, “Over a decade ago, most sports had no ‘3rd umpire,’ or ability to challenge calls, this has been a great addition to sports and I think especially when the onus is put on players and coaches. There will still be errors, a coach or player out of challenges when an obviously bad call occurs, but better than stopping a match every time there is doubt. I’m not one for totally eradicating the possible Human error in sports, as it’s just part of the game, but as AR and technology in general improves, these decisions and knowing the right outcome can only be improved.”