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Sports Technologies: Journey towards Perfection? (Part 2)

In the last part of this article, we were having bit look at some recent occurrence regarding controversial impact of sports technology, particularly in football. While football is just entering the era of holistic usage of sports tech, in sports like cricket it has been used for long as we know. Naturally the debate there revolving around this topic has been a long one.

Cricket World Cup 2019 ended just a couple of months back. Throughout the tournament we have observed several questionable decision from match umpires, both on-field and even with use of  technology (!!!). Sometimes decision of on-field umpires appeared inaccurate, while sometime decision from the remote umpire (using tech tools) appeared ambiguous. And the fact that maximum two failed reviews a team can afford in an innings also put a limit to the use of technology.

While use of technology for game related decision marking may always remain a subject of review, controversy and further improvement; it is undoubtedly agreed that technology has been facilitating the advancement of sports in a huge scale, like:

  • Augmentation in training-coaching schemes
  • Better viewing experience for audience
  • Fantasy sports for game lovers
  • Better process of ticketing and gallery management
  • Smooth availability of all related info

As reported by Forbes Magazine, last year (2018) we experienced development-emergence of some impactful sports technologies, like:

The arrival of Video-Assisted Referees (VAR) in Football: Already discussed in details in the previous part of the article.

OTT broadcasting: Sports streaming services  have been making a serious impact. In Europe, DAZN and Eleven Sports are challenging incumbent broadcasters. In US, DAZN has invested more than a billion dollars into boxing and combat sports. DAZN’s ambition has been such that HBO, which has been synonymous with boxing in the U.S., has withdrawn from the market.

The rise of eSports: eSports continues to grow in popularity, with sports organizations sensing an opportunity to attract younger fans and generate new revenue streams. Official competitions for the Premier League and UEFA Champions League have been sanctioned, while clubs are signing professional eSports players. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is also monitoring eSports development.

Shifting attitudes toward gambling: One of the biggest sports business stories of 2018 was the legalization of online betting in the U.S. There were immediate acquisitions and expansions into the U.S. market as sporting organizations such as the National Hockey League (NHL) sought to capitalize on a potential new revenue stream. But there are concerns that technology makes gambling attractive to young people and easy to bet. British bookmakers have agreed to stop advertising during live sporting events to help solve the issue. Very recently, we are observing similar impact in some sports clubs in Bangladesh.

Real-time data :The use of data analytics to improve match preparation and fitness is common at the elite level of most sports these days, though real-time use of data has been limited. The most obvious example was in  NFL in US ,which has a deal with Microsoft to use Surface tablets on the sidelines. In rugby union, coaches have access to analytical tools, but they must sit in the stands with their laptops and all insights are relayed to coaches in the dugout using a radio. This is evolving, with Football once again leading the way. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has approved the use of handheld devices during soccer games, enabling a number of possible applications. In the World Cup 2018, FIFA gave all 32 teams access to a tablet-based system featuring match footage, positioning data, and other statistics

Like every other aspect of life, technology is significantly impacting sports in  multi-dimensional ways. We just need to ensure its optimum and positive usage aiming for the betterment of all.

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