Is technology the future of sports? – Greensboro News & Record

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Throughout history most societies have considered sporting activities important. The ancient Greeks were known for their love of sporting events and gave us the Olympic Games. Sports are also infused in military training and are sometimes part of religious festivals. However, they are now mainly recreational, so what does the future hold?
Today’s sporting activities are played mainly the same way as in ancient times. However, technology has significantly changed and improved gameplay. A loose definition of sports technology is any human-made method created to simplify or enhance all sporting activities, from training to participation and access. The following are some of the most common uses of sports technology.
Accuracy with timekeeping
Technology has made it much easier for sports judges and authorities to make final judgments. In ancient times, there was a lot of confusion among athletes and their supporters whenever there was a disagreement with judges. This problem rarely happens today because technology has made it easy to pinpoint the exact distance a javelin travels or the specific millisecond an athlete crosses the finish line.
Viewership
Technology is why millions of viewers can watch major tournaments and leagues regardless of an arena’s maximum seating capacity. In 2022 and 2023, viewership for the average American football tournament game hit 16.7 million. Similar figures were also recorded in other sports outside the U.S., including more than 1.5 billion viewers for soccer games in 2022. The Big Five soccer leagues in Europe all recorded spikes in revenue from 2012 to 2021, with leagues in England jumping from 2.9 billion to 6.6 billion euros. 
Technology helps open sporting events to a nearly unlimited audience because games can be broadcast to as many people as are interested. These events use high-tech camera systems, microphones and graphics to give viewers an immersive experience as they watch some of their favorite games regardless of geographical location.
Betting
Using tech for viewership is one of the bedrocks of sports betting. Technology helps people follow their favorite teams, analyze data and stake money on possible wins or losses. Also, technology is used by the most trusted gambling sites in the US to give users the best experience. One example is the application of machine learning algorithms used to set betting odds. Since odds sometimes change on the spot, sportsbooks require sophisticated mathematical models running constantly in real time to provide punters with well-calculated odds.
These models help to set betting odds using big data comprising information such as team performance, historical events and player stats. In addition, bookmakers use technology to analyze data and identify player patterns and preferences. The analyzed results are then used to create targeted promotions and customized offers so that customers can enjoy personalized experiences.
Esports
Growth in the esports sector directly reflects the importance of technology in sports. Although video games are not new, the inclusion of competitive video gaming as a sporting activity is relatively recent. Electronic sporting activities are some of the most tech-focused sports because they require gaming devices and gadgets that are unnecessary in traditional nontech sports like marathons or wrestling.
China is the world’s largest esports market with industry-generated revenue of $10.6 billion between January and June 2023. Interestingly, nearly 85% of the revenue came from product sales. There are 487 million esports users in China, and this number is expected to increase as user penetration in 2023 is projected at 13% and is likely to hit 15.3% in 2027. In the U.S., the world’s second largest esports market, the combined earnings of esports players crossed $27 million in 2021.
Technology has a pivotal role to play in the global evolution of sports. Although traditional elements and physical equipment will always be required for most sports, the infusion of technology into conventional sports will only increase. For example, sporting activities now integrate virtual and augmented reality technologies to solve problems that arise from space or equipment constraints. This also makes participation almost as immersive as physical gameplay at an arena or stadium.
Technology is undoubtedly the future of sports because it expands capabilities previously considered impossible. For instance, athletes and other participants can use technology to prepare for tournaments instead of practicing with expensive equipment at a professional venue. In addition, using technology to expand viewership through marketing and advertising helps attract funds for research and development.
Technology also enhances fan engagement via augmented reality and virtual reality, helps participants monitor performance through fitness trackers and smartwatches, and ensures fair play via tools like goal-line technology and virtual assistant referees. There also is the recent explosion of artificial intelligence, which is birthing new use cases for technology. Sports teams are already using AI to analyze player performance for better training advice and reduce the amount of footage coaches need to review. AI can also help develop custom training schedules based on each player’s needs.
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