20 Ways Technology Makes Sports BetterJuly 26, 2011
20 Ways Technology Makes Sports Better
Smart phones, iPads and instant replay booths? I know that I need the first two devices to survive in my daily life but what about the third?
Instant replay, Stubhub and that yellow first down line are just as important, if not more than anything Apple comes out with. The games themselves, and the ways that we are able to watch them, have been positively impacted by technology and without it, we might as well go back to short shorts, high socks and Afros.
Here are the top 20 ways technology makes sports better.
20. We Can Now Control the Weather
I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. China aimed to control the weather during the 2008 Beijing Olympics by breaking up clouds that appeared to have rain in them. Not only is this an incredible technological advancement, but it is also downright crazy.
I don’t see this coming to America anytime soon, but imagine if there was never a rain out again? That would be the life.
19. Improved Field Conditions
Remember the Brady Bunch AstroTurf backyard? Well, athletes used to play on fields just like that, and got very hurt doing so.
Now, grounds crews have lobbied their owners for new, better fields that are maintained meticulously. It looks like a carpet out there, and I am sure that the athletes appreciate it. These conditions make sports better for everyone involved, most specifically the athletes.
18. Better Viewing Experience
There are many simple things that we take for granted in our daily sports viewing world. One of these is the first down line in football, and the other being the score prominently displayed at the bottom of the television screen.
These amenities have not always been there, and are now being taken for granted. One might argue that these two small changes to the viewing experience have made it exponentially better.
17. Opens Up Small Markets
The Internet has been useful for everything and everyone, especially the big companies. But, it has also helped keep small market teams relevant. Every team has a website that can be visited with information on the players, the team’s last game and blogs full of information and opinions.
Without this access, there would be no market in cities like Milwaukee, Kansas City and Portland.
16. Better for Coaches: Fame, Film and Scouting
Scouting talent has, since the beginning of time, been based on guts, feelings and instincts. Now, through technological precision, scouts have an entire sheet of information on how fast an athlete can run, how high they can jump and how accurate their passing is.
These are all-important factors that went unnoticed for years, and are now being corrected, hopefully decreasing the number of busts that scouts recommend.
15. Makes the Game Fair
This is a part of the game that many people have issue with. Technology, in the form of synthetic drugs, has created much of the cheating that officials work hard to eradicate. But testing has become more sophisticated, eliminating much of the cheating.
Another important invention, humidors, were created to counterbalance the thin air in several stadiums. This technology is important in making sure that both teams have a fair chance.
14. Fantasy Sports
Yup, fantasy sports are dorky, but it is a billion dollar a year industry. When fantasy baseball first started, people would look at the previous day’s box score to calculate league winners. Now, we have up to the second stat lines and point updates that make the game more exciting.
Say what you will about fantasy sports, but it brings people that do not have a lot of knowledge of the game into the system and teaches them the sport from the inside out. It has helped make the leagues bigger and more important.
13. HIGH DEFINITION!
The home entertainment age has gone wild, but then again nobody is complaining. Enormous 50-plus inch television sets now don every living room, and are the main attraction to everyone’s home.
With ticket prices so high, staying on your couch is the preferred option for many people. This took a turn for the better when high definition became standard to every TV set. Of course, there will always be people with the bigger and the better equipment, but now every average Joe has crystal clear quality from the comfort of his home. We now can watch the game and feel like we are there.
12. Video Gaming Experience
I will be the first to admit that my soccer fandom began with FIFA ’09 and has grown ever since. Visually stunning video games have made it desirable to play often and always buy the newest version.
Knowing which players are good and where they play is more than half the battle in getting someone to know and understand a particular sport. The improved gaming experience brought on by advancements in technology has made this happen.
11. Helps with Nutrition and Training
Running around a track and lifting weights is no longer the best way to get the most out of your body and your training sessions. The good people at GNC and other retailers have made workouts more effective and productive.
Training facilities have also starting popping up all over the country, offering the cutting edge technology in maximizing your talents through hard work and unique training methods.
10. More Connected to Athletes
Some find Twitter to be a controversial topic, so why not take a stab at it. The idea of the website is generally brilliant, as seen by the millions of users. What makes it special is that we can directly correspond to athletes, and bring the world of professional sports and professional fandom together.
A good example of the merits of the social network is Dwight Howard’s twitter day. He tweeted to his fans where he would be, to give them a chance to meet him. This connection to the fans is important because we invest so much time and energy into these athletes, so why not let them give back.
9. Ticket Purchasing
Remember when people used to go to the game and not have tickets. They would walk up to the window or scalp a pair in the parking lot. Those days are over.
Now, any sporting event you want to go to is either on the team’s official website or on a second hand website such as Stubhub. This revolutionized our ability to go to games and find the exact seat we want to sit in.
8. Athletes Can Be More Accurate in Their Game
If you have ever watched an episode of Sports Science, then you know what I am talking about. While athletes do not routinely take part in science experiments to analyze their game, video projections and swing analysis are used by dozens of players looking to get better.
Technology helps athletes, both amateur and professional, find out what is wrong with a particular part of their game, and helps them fix it. It is a revolutionary part of the game that has become a key ingredient for success.
7. Incredible Stadiums
In the past few years we have seen the erection of Cowboys Stadium and Yankee Stadium. These two mausoleums are barely places to play sports anymore. Enormous high definition jumbo-trons, $8 beers and booming sound systems make you feel like you are on another planet.
That being said, it enhances the game experience like never before. Highlights are seen perfectly, nothing gets lost and every fan leaves happy whether the team wins or loses. It’s a truly incredible experience that takes the phrase state of the art to a whole new level.
6. Better Equipment
We have traded in wood and rubber for titanium and nylon. In many ways, the equipment used is just as important as the person using it. Tennis rackets and golf clubs have seen the biggest jump in technological developments, while there has been a significant influence in all areas of the games.
Everything from shoes to dry fit shirts has separated then from now. There has been a natural evolution that has been nothing but great for sports.
5. Safer for the Athletes
Yes, David Wright does look like The Great Gazoo from the Flintstones, but this helmet is what they call a concussion helmet. Both football and baseball players need to constantly worry about their safety, because concussions have become a very serious issue.
Technology has made life safer for drivers and reduced the amount of unwanted head and neck injuries across the board. Without this technology we would never evolve, and the athletes would continue to get hurt.
4. Helps Us Better Understand the Game
With so many sports and their intricate rules, no wonder we need a pointer or two here and there. Technology has done a great job at making it easier to understand what is going on in a game, by highlighting the most important things going on.
One way this has been done is through ESPN Axis, a revolutionary way of showing the intricacies of the game. It shows which players scored, why and who could have prevented it. This way, we are never lost as sports fans and it gives us something to look for the next time we turn on the game.
Now, anyone with a smart phone can download applications that make following sports as easy as receiving text messages. ESPN mobile and other websites have made it simple to follow scores and read analysis anywhere.
This has made even the most casual sports fan into a technology junkie.
2. We Can Watch More Games
MLBTV, NFL Sunday Ticket and NBA League Pass are all ways for the biggest sports fans, no matter where they live, to catch every game. Is it healthy to watch every game there is? Maybe, maybe not, but at least we have the option.
This is a way to really expand your sports horizon, and watch games that you wouldn’t ordinarily watch. This connects sports fans and makes us all much more educated.
1. Instant Replay
Replay could be most important technological advancement in sports history. Now, it is up to each individual league and sport to do the right thing and adopt the practice in order to ensure accuracy.
Replay has now become an important part of the NFL, MLB and ATP. Both athletes and fans want the game to be fair, and correcting mistakes is the only way to ensure that the game gets played the right way and the man or woman who deserves to win, actually does.