Digitalisation has permeated all aspects of society, and the sports industry has been no exception. Since the 60s, till today, the sports industry has undergone a significant transformation, creating a position for itself. However, the last few years have seen the inception of digital technology in the sports arena. This technology has had great contribution in the creation of yet another possible way of yielding monetary benefits, other than the games themselves, in the form of corporate sponsorship. They accomplished this by capitalising on the passion, eagerness, and enthusiasm of the fans.
This digitalised technology has made sports easily accessible anywhere, to anyone, and at any given time, ultimately gratifying the stipulations of the viewers/users, kindling interest, while also proving that the sports industry is a massive and swiftly expanding market. The part played by technology in steering this fluid and easy accessibility can only be seen to lead the industry forward in a positive direction. There is hardly an aspect of sports that has not felt its influence.
We use elevators and escalators instead of taking the good old traditional stairs, we use laptops or desktops for work, we use smartphones to make calls or send a text, and we use credit cards to make payments. Technology has eventually and slowly become an essential part of our daily lives, something we cannot do without, and therefore, it did not come as a surprise to see the professional sports also capitalise on its potential.
In sports like F1, cycling, swimming, or athletics, professional timer facilities have been instituted, consequently, not one second goes unnoticed. Since the year 2001, the Hawk-eye technique has made an unfathomable difference to the sport of Cricket, making it much more convenient and easier for the spectators to track the orientation and the course of the ball. Hawkeye provides all kinds of statistical analysis such as the speed of the ball, ball pitch on the wicket and direction of the ball after it has bounced, and also helps them decide whether the ball was in or out.
Modern day assessment techniques have made it possible to calculate and examine the performance of individual players. These techniques were introduced by UEFA in 2007, wherein upto 16 cameras keep track of the field in order for the spectators to be able to monitor the trajectory of the players. In basketball, the NBA makes use of the replay vision analyse last-touch decisions in the last two minutes of the game.
The present-day digitalised technology leaves no stone unturned in collecting data about the performance of the players. It has the power to catch every single second of their game. However, while technology has advanced and made easier and efficient certain aspects of sports, the way people feel about watching sports has gone through a speedy and rather significant evolution over the years. Attendance has dropped across several leagues while on other hand, TV ratings have risen. Most fans now seem to be more fascinated by the stories of individual athletes and are less interested in following their favourite teams/clubs. With the growing popularity of High Definition TVs, smartphones, social media and fantasy leagues, people are now constantly updated and connected with sports and its happenings.
The way people in today’s date are connect athletes through social media and fantasy leagues has paved a way for them to acquire access to their lives, and this in turn is transforming how they look at them. In a world that is infatuated by these celebs, this technology has in a way bridged the gap between the fans and the athletes due to which the fans now have a new form of a personal relationship with the athletes that they idolise.
With more and more people getting hold of different means of technology, it is not so surprising to see that the population inside the stadium has been somewhat wiped out. Sports broadcasting has become such an essential revolution, inventing features after features, to help intensify the viewing experience of the users, bring every minute detail of the games to their attention.
In several sports, nowadays, there are individual cameras that focus on specific players, teams, angles, and parts of the game. In addition, now there are mobile applications that allow us to watch matches on our phones even while we are traveling. So essentially, we have the entire experience of watching sports in the palm of our hands, in that we can watch whatever we want, whenever we want, and wherever we want.
Now, let’s discuss in brief the concept of Fantasy Leagues and how they have influenced todays generation and their involvement in sports. The concept was first created in 1980 and became increasingly popular, much sooner than expected. The Fantasy Football Digest, co-authored by Tom Kane Jr. and Cliff Charpentier, was the first to set down the rules of Fantasy Football in paper. The idea then made its way to USA and in 1999 the Fantasy Sports Association was formed.
Fantasy Sports is a game concept wherein a bunch of players, called a league, pick from a variety of real life professional athletes to set up fantasy teams, followed by which, based on the performance of each of these real-life athletes throughout the season, the fantasy teams are allowed points. The player whose team wins the most points in the entire season is declared the champion. This is mostly played among friends and/or colleagues and at times some friendly betting with real-life money is also involved.
Fantasy sports has grown to become a futuristic, $3 billion industry where the ordinary fan spends close to $150 a year on products that don’t really exist. These fantasy sports enthusiasts were once mocked for their guileless commitment and devotion to the games that had long been played, and for not living in the moment, enjoying the action. Nevertheless, today, we see those people swiping passionately at their phones, struggling to make last minute changes in their line-ups, just because they saw a tweet about about the condition of their favourite player’s injury or anything just as crucial.
In addition to all of this, technology now helps in the analysis of sports performance, which in turn allows coaches to upgrade the quality of feedback to their athletes and to enhance the precision in time measurements of sports performance. Most people in today’s date criticise the utilisation of technology to enhance sports performance but in reality, it is inevitable.