Virtual reality

Seven ways new tech is improving the way we enjoy sports

Technology plays an increasingly important role in everyone’s lives. It helps you stay connected to friends and family, access entertainment, navigate the world and perform well in your career. However, various new technologies are changing how people enjoy professional and recreational sports.

Coaches and their athletes rely on advanced technology to improve performance, whether on the soccer pitch, football field, or tennis court. Sports are now more data-driven and digitally advanced than ever, with no signs of slowing down. How are emerging technologies revolutionizing the way amateur and professional athletes play sports? How do they impact the way we watch live sports?

Continue reading to explore seven new technologies in sports and how they’re changing the industry for the better.

1. Virtual Reality

The virtual reality (VR) market is currently valued at $28.42 billion, and experts predict it will reach $87 billion by 2030. While VR is commonly associated with the gaming industry, it has many other applications across several sectors, such as retail, manufacturing, and construction. Virtual reality is also entering the sports industry in various ways.

One main VR application in sports is using a headset for training purposes. For example, avid golfers can use the new OptiShot2 Golf Simulator, a VR-based simulator that allows players to practice their swing and shot accuracy. The simulator has a driving range, 15 premium golf courses to choose from, and 32 high-speed infrared sensors offering users instant feedback to fine-tune their form.

2. Cryptocurrency

A growing trend in the sports industry involves football, soccer, Formula 1, and UFC teams making multimillion-dollar investments in crypto sports sponsorships. Below are some notable crypto sports deals:

  • Manchester United FC entered a multi-year $27 million sponsorship deal with Tezos.
  • Red Bull Racing has a three-year sponsorship deal with crypto firm Bybit and Tezos is the team’s official blockchain partner.
  • In 2021, Crypto.com paid $700 million so the Staples Center in LA would change its name to “Crypto.com Arena.”
  • UFC and Crypto.com signed a $175 million sponsorship deal, meaning UFC athletes will wear Crypto.com branded apparel.

The world of cryptocurrency is taking the world by storm, so it’s no surprise it’s becoming more prevalent in the sports industry. Crypto deals are helping professional sports teams engage with their fans on a more personal level.

3. Improved Athletic Flooring

Fans and amateur players might be unaware of the role quality flooring plays in the sports industry. While injuries can occur in any setting or playing surface, high-quality athletic flooring can be a game-changer for athletes.

Quality sports flooring offers a few benefits. For example, floors with shock absorption of 22% to 40% — depending on the intended use — will decrease long-term joint problems in athletes of all ages. Certain sports floors can also reduce excessive noise and provide adequate friction, improving player concentration and lowering the risk of slips, trips, and falls.

4. Better At-Home Viewing Experiences

Most sports fans would agree attending a live sporting event is an experience like no other. However, it is becoming increasingly expensive to go to games, which means more fans choose to or prefer watching on TV at home.

They can watch games, matches, or fights on the big screen without leaving the couch. It’s the next best thing compared to watching a live event. As digital experiences continue to improve, there could eventually be a market for VR viewing as well.

5. Ticket Purchasing

It’s becoming increasingly easy for avid and casual sports fans to purchase tickets to live sporting events. Traditionally, you would travel to the stadium, arena, or field and buy a ticket a few hours before the start of the game or match. Now, people can purchase sports tickets online using one of the many ticket-selling platforms.

Popular places to buy tickets for sporting events include SeatGeek, Ticketmaster, StubHub, VividSeats, Tickpick, and more. It also makes it much easier to resell tickets legally if you cannot attend the event.

Most sites allow fans to see a 360-degree perspective of the seat they buy. Fans can also avoid printing out their tickets, instead conveniently uploading them to the digital wallet on their smartphone or entering the facility once an employee scans their QR code.

6. Fantasy Leagues and Sports Betting

The average person may not have time to join a recreational sports team, especially when other responsibilities are more important. One way they can get involved is by playing fantasy sports. Users create fantasy teams of real professional athletes from the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, or college teams.

Additionally, various digital platforms allow sports fans to place bets on their favorite teams and players. For example, popular sports betting sites include DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, Barstool Sportsbook, PointsBet, and BetMGM.

7. Advanced Replay Technology

In addition to high-quality TVs, another critical aspect of modern sports is the ability to review plays using instant replay. Since its introduction in 1963 by inventor Tony Verna, advanced video servers have allowed broadcasters to provide more complex instant replays. For example, instant replay can have various speeds, freeze frames, frame-by-frame review, overlaying virtual graphics, and tools like distance calculation and ball speed.

There is some controversy over the use of instant replay. In football and baseball, coaches and players can challenge calls made by referees and umpires, which some fans believe is ruining the sports industry. When game officials have to spend time reviewing a play, the game comes to a halt, and everyone has to wait for the final verdict.

Sports Technology Offers Benefits to Fans and Athletes

The sports industry will continue to grow in the coming years, meaning more technologies will come into play and change how fans watch athletes play sports. While it’s interesting to see how impactful technology is in sports, it’ll only be a matter of time until the industry adopts new technology to improve fan experiences and athlete performances.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2022.

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