Sports have been a constant in human history. Sporting competition has evolved separately in a huge number of cultures and is massively important to a great many people. The development of sport runs parallel to the development of technology. Technological innovation has touched almost every competitive sport in the world. Here are four of the most important recent developments.
Referees are humans, and they make mistakes just like everybody else. Recently, however, they have also gained some new tools to help them make better decisions. In top football leagues around the world, referees are now backed up by Video Assistant Referees – or VAR for short. This controversial new development in sports has been made possible by ultra-fast broadband connections, video analysis tools like goal line technology and high definition cameras. While VAR may help referees make the right decisions, some critics believe it to be damaging to football’s spontaneous and riotous atmosphere. Hairline offside decisions, for instance, have been criticized roundly.
Live streaming has altered the way we consume sports. Gamblers can watch and bet on basketball with Unibet, football supporters can follow their individual team’s streaming service. It has completely changed the sporting entertainment industry. The ease with which a club can livestream events has meant that smaller sporting teams are able to give their fans access to live matches for the first time in their history.
Streaming is only possible because of the widespread adoption of the internet and the proliferation of the personal computer. Streaming now forms a large part of the revenue for sporting clubs and institutions.
Sports are about passion, desire and skill – but they are increasingly influenced by numbers as well. Data analysis software is used by football managers to monitor the positions taken up by their players. This allows them to make tactical tweaks and personnel changes based on average position and chance of success. Likewise, recruitment in many sports is now dominated by the ‘moneyball’ data-based system. First employed by the Oakland Athletics baseball team in the early 2000’s, the ‘moneyball’ system involves the use of data analysis software to work out which players offer the most bang for their buck. It has since spread into the management cultures of many top sporting clubs. High rates of success have been attributed to the system, which has seen clubs on a budget out punch their richer rivals.
Sportswear development has always been about giving performance advantages to the wearer, but advances in technology have allowed development to progress at a truly wild pace.
Nanotechnology is employed in creating new microfiber woven garments that are extremely lightweight, aerodynamic and breathable. Sporting footwear has also come on in leaps and bounds. Jump soles are legal in many sports, and provide an extra spring in an athlete’s step. Technology also plays a part in making sports safer.