Technology has become one of the most important points in the sports ecosystem recently. It has had all kinds of effects, including on the media and marketing side as well as on the rulebook. A cursory look down the SugarHouse online sportsbook PA, meanwhile, will reveal that some sports are far more overrepresented in the gambling world than others. Not all sports are created equal, and technology has had more of an effect on some of them than others. This blog post will investigate the question of which sports have become most sensitive to technology, and look at what this might mean for those sports in particular – and also why sports choose to make the technological decisions they do.
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball, or MLB, has attempted to open its arms to technology in recent years. A wide range of measures have been taken to improve the sport’s techie credentials, and this is a good thing. One such move has been a shift towards what might best be described as ‘big data’. In baseball, this manifests itself primarily as PITCHf/x – a tool that’s designed to monitor everything from release point to velocity, and that’s used by fans and pundits to make judgements about future games.
As with many of the interactions between sport and technology, there are often multiple ultimate goals in play. In the short term, technological developments lead to improved experiences for matches, leagues and fans, and this is to be celebrated. However, they also play a role in future-proofing the sport, and in ensuring that fans will continue to love it as time goes on.
According to Rob Manfred, a commissioner of MLB who worked hard to implement tech changes, this is a primary motivation.
“I think that the next big question for us is how we make sure that baseball is passed on to the next generation,” he said. “I think that technology issues…are a huge part of that.”
The technological revolution also continues apace in other sports such as basketball. One way that this has happened is through the proliferation of a certain type of basketball shoe, especially those designed by Nike. These were often designed around the player, and also around the role of the player on the pitch. If they were in a perimeter position, for example, then the player might be given lightweight shoes that wouldn’t weigh them down when moving. While this kind of tech is perhaps not quite as glamorous as big data or goal-line kit, it’s perhaps an example of targeted technology that had an effect on the entirety of the game.
It’s not just in the US that sport is being changed by the growth of technology though. It’s happening all around the world, with many other countries seeing their sports influenced by the latest developments. Take association football, which is a much-loved sport in the UK, Europe, South America and elsewhere. There, goal-line technology (as it is known) is a prime example of the changing face of sport thanks to tech. Goal-line technology works by using electro-magnetic impulses, which are linked up to devices controlled by the referee. The organization behind the football rules, FIFA, worked alongside the International Football Association Board to implement the changes a few years ago – and since then, goal-line technology has been everywhere.
Companies have sprung up to meet the new-found need for innovative tracking technology, and names such as GoalRef have become famous in the sphere. However, there was some opposition to the implementation of the technology when it first came about.
“I’m against the technology,” said Michel Platini, who headed up UEFA (the European football board) when the technology first came out. “If you say OK to goal-line technology, then it is offside technology, then penalty area technology, and we stop the football.”
In the long term, however, criticisms have been batted away and the technology has been widely accepted – just, perhaps, like all technology eventually does.
Whether it’s basketball, baseball or soccer, then, technological developments have truly changed the face of so many sports. From the way that question marks over point scoring can be resolved thanks to an objective adjudicator to the role that big data can play in helping fans and pundits work out what’s going on across the league, the sporting world has already evolved and changed drastically in the age of cameras, screens and instant transmission.