The worlds of sports and technology are colliding like never before, with administrators recognising the chances of becoming smarter both on and off the field of play.
Innovations are being used at a boardroom level to make organisations more effective and to generate more income, while technology is changing how sport is being played at an elite level. Fans too are benefiting from new services, programs and ways they can interact with the sport.
Video-Assisted Referees (VAR) in soccer
Strictly speaking, 2018 wasn’t the first year that VAR was utilised in a professional game, but using the technology at the World Cup in Russia was comfortably the most high-profile use case so far – and one which won over lots of sceptics.
The past 12 months have seen sports streaming services make a severe effect on the market. On the European continent meanwhile, Eleven Sports and DAZN are challenging incumbent broadcasters, while stateside DAZN has spent more than a billion dollars into boxing and combat sports. DAZN’s vision has been such that HBO, which has been synonymous with boxing at the U.S., has withdrawn from the market.
Using data analytics to improve match preparation and fitness is common at the elite level of most sports these days, but real-time use of information is restricted. The clearest example is in the stat-heavy NFL, which has a deal with Microsoft to use Surface tablets on the sidelines.