From plane propellers to mobile phones and computers, our world has seen mind-blowing technology packaged in varying sizes. These innovations exist in all spheres of human life, from healthcare to transportation, sports, and the delivery of goods and services. So much time is now being saved thanks to technological advancement.
Sporting activities have benefited immensely from the introduction of technology. Fans can now watch live games via mobile gadgets and TVs without being in the same country where the match is being played. Also, players and managers no longer have to haggle with referees over goals and ball outs, time records in races, or point counts in basketball.
Sports technology expert Kate Richardson analyses the uses and benefits of tech innovations in sports.
What Is Sports Technology?
Sports technology refers to artificial scientific creations used to augment human experience in sports. Such creations include chips in a soccer ball, hawk-eye technology, ball sensors and live replays. Sports technology is built on the premise of reducing the referee or judge’s margin for error in sports. By employing technological innovations in sports, these officials can make impartial considerations and ultimately make the right decision in dicey situations.
Why Sports Technology?
As a kid, you probably played football in the yard and argued for several minutes when your opponent cleared an apparent goal under the guise of goal-line clearance. Or maybe had a tiny margin separate you from the winner of a race, which made you doubtful of the judge’s vision. These instances happen in professional sports too. Yet, judges and refs are humans with imperfect vision. To this end, it is essential to assist them to make confident and correct decisions via sports technology.
It is not precisely clear when technology was first introduced to sports. However, many sources believe that horse racing was the first sport to embrace technology. This was back in the 19th century when photo finishing was created. Photo finish equipment operates by taking photos of athletes at several points within the race to determine their positions. Athletics soon followed suit by introducing wearable chips to athletes clothing.
Now, timing systems, goal-line technology and video assistant refereeing are the modern sports technologies currently in use.
Sport Technologies at Work
Technology has become an integral aspect of sports, helping athletes to compete fairly and without bias. The following are some of the ways sports organizers are using technological innovations to balance the competitive scale.
- Sensors: Sensor tools are the most popular technology in sports. Sensor tools like goal-line technology in football help the referee to verify if the ball crossed the line. This way, match officials can determine the validity of each goal claim. Another example of sensors is in tennis, where the officials use hawk-eye technology to ascertain if the ball has gone out of bounds. Sensors generally transmit the position of the ball at given points during a game.
- Live Replays: Live replays are the most notable sports technology in fans’ books. Live replays give officials autonomy on the review of critical decisions during gameplay. These replays can be slowed down or switched to different angles to provide the referee with an encompassing view of the tackle, foul or dispute. This innovative technology is used in almost all modern sports games, including cricket, soccer, basketball, and combat sports. It is also the primary component in Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) which is now widely used in soccer games.
- Timing Technology: Ever wondered how athlete-specific times are recorded at IAAF events? The answer lies in timing technology. Usually, the clock begins ticking as the starter pistol goes off and records athlete movements to the hundredth of a second. Sometimes, you may see a mobile timer board near the finish line, which shows the time duration of the race’s winner. Timing technology is also used in swimming competitions where swimmers wear inertial sensors and place their hands on a touchpad for personal time records.
- RFID and Gear Development: In individual competitions such as marathons and other long-distance races, RFID chips are worn by athletes to track their exact location. These chips have built-in batteries and show when each participant crosses a specific line. As a result, you can tell how far away each athlete is from the finish line. Sports technology is also used in developing sports jerseys, helmets and boots. These gears are technologically enhanced to absorb impact shocks and to improve athlete safety. For instance, Formula One drivers wear fire-resistant clothing while NFL players put on special helmets to prevent concussions.
The benefits of sports technology are not limited to fair competition and athlete safety. It is also useful in analyzing betting tips on these sports. As sports technologies record these facts, bettors are able to access them from archives when considering what odds to pick. Betting companies also use the data generated from sports tech in algorithms when calculating the odds for each event.
In addition, some bookmakers now offer betting markets on whether VAR will be used in a match. Overall, technology has dramatically improved the experience of sports fans, particularly during the covid lockdown. When football clubs faced impending economic doom during the lockdown, sports technology rose to the occasion, offering broadcast revenue to cushion clubs’ financial losses.
Several sports were able to go on, with fans watching live games online via streaming apps and broadcast stations. In this way, clubs were able to garner more revenue from merchandise and broadcast rights; fans too managed to stay in touch with the games without visiting stadiums. On the whole, the use of digital media and technology in sports grew in the past twelve months thanks to the pandemic as mankind turned to sports for entertainment. You can read more about technology in sports on this informative site.