How technology and social media have changed the nature of sports | مركز سمت للدراسات

How technology and social media have changed the nature of sports

Date & time : Wednesday, 13 September 2023

Sanjana Mohan

FILE – Aerial view of the Gottlieb Daimler stadium in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on Friday, Oct. 28, 2005. Bundesliga team Stuttgart has agreed the principals of a sponsorship deal with local car manufacturer Porsche and consultancy firm MHP that it says could yield more than 100 million euros ($110 million) for the club. The club says Mercedes-Benz will remain its main sponsor, though it is giving up naming rights to the stadium. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle, File)

Sports has been witnessing a remarkable change, thanks to technology which affects how the game is broadcast, how players train, and how fans and sportspersons interact with each other. One of the biggest catalysts has been social media. Till the early 2000s, there was hardly any competition in sports reporting. One had to wait till the arrival of morning newspapers to realise the wins and losses. But now, the competition is in real time, as and when the sporting event takes place. Stories are now “broken” on Twitter.

One can gauge the importance of technology in sports from the fact that in the year 2019, the global sports technology market was valued at $24.14 billion. And by 2027, it is expected to be worth $65.41 billion, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 13.5 per cent between 2020 and 2027.

The optimum usage of technology is most prominently visible in the transformation of a stadium into what is now called a smart stadium. A smart stadium uses technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to create an experience that is both personalised and immersive, thus giving fans and viewers a seamless experience all through the game.

One of the best examples of sports developing in sync with technology is the way the 2022 FIFA World Cup was played last year in Qatar. For example, the official match ball — known as Al-Rihla, which means “journey” in Arabic — was reportedly the “most environment-friendly ball till date”. It was the first ball to feature connected ball technology — a sensor in the centre of the ball transmits data 500 times per second, providing insight into the ball’s movement.

However, nothing exhibits the depth of technology in a sporting event than Formula 1 (F1), where advanced sensors are used to access real-time information for teams and fans. For example, the 300 sensors that are fitted in an F1 car can transmit data that allow the team to automatically detect any issues with the car that might affect the driver’s performance.

Technology has also influenced how a player is trained. High-tech sensors and tracking systems, video cameras and AI have all merged to create the ultimate feedback mechanism. Nothing escapes the eyes of sporting coaches and trainers today. AI makes connections that humans can’t see. The end result is a tech-trained player both upskilled and upscaled.



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