Have you ever considered the way in which you watch your game, and how it might be different from decades past? Smartphones and video-streaming computers are really inventions perfected in the last two decades, but everyone acts as though they’ve always been here. When it comes to sports, we are going full steam ahead to see things that are conservative by their very nature, and that balance is a delicate thing to consider.
There have been different, small advancements in technology and improvements in sports medicine have changed how long player’s careers are and pushed their bodies to the limit. Yet for the common fan of nearly any sports, the advancements have been in how they watch it and the options available for viewing. You can watch the game from two sets of commentators, hear a variety of radio stations talk about it, and so on. The relative ease of setting up a station means that, if you want, you can spend every waking moment of your life surrounded by sports and sports talk-shows. The fans have never had it easier, but it important to put it into perspective.
Replays and Multiple Cameras
During the dawn of the sports era in America, having just a couple of cameras to watch on a black and white screen was a technological achievement all sports fans asked for. Now HDTV on a TV greater than 30 inches is the new norm. Every little detail is displayed, and that leads to an extra level of scrutiny on all levels, especially when there are at least ten cameras at every major sporting event. It makes one wonder just how the players are affected by the extra pressure and attention.
You can now find instant replay of referees taking a look at instant replay. There used to be no such thing; now every sport on television has it, and some officials use it on the field or are just starting to open up its use. It is as if we are starting to not trust our officials anymore. If you watch a full baseball game start to finish, you will see the same big play about four times spread out over the nine innings just so that the broadcasters can remind you that it happened. Do they trust our attention spans anymore? Are we as fans becoming this bored with the games we love that we require all of this technology?
Cable and Internet
Yet the viewing of sports has been changed by the rise of cable and internet services more than anything else. Concepts such as DVR and on-demand weren’t really thought of thirty years ago, so there was no ability to really watch the game later other than a VCR (often more trouble than it was worth). This forced people together to watch the game together and communicate. Sports brought people together.
Even as the internet provided a way for people to watch the games away from the television. You can now even find tools online such as a Virtual Private Network that will let you watch the game in a different country without regional restrictions should you have one of the many subscription or cable services that may contain up to one-hundred sports channels. With it you can even watch it safely now on the lousy Wi-Fi they give out for free in sports bars instead of having to watch the game the bar has put on the TV.
Do you remember a time where there weren’t that many sports channels? Now every single stadium and game is specialized for broadcasting instead of emphasizing the in-stadium experience first and foremost. Instead of catching the local game on TV, you can catch any game across the country on TV (for a price, of course). The experience at home makes some people think that it is just better to stay at home, and we as fans have to decide if that is the route we want to go down when implementing new technologies.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you take a closer look at the technology in your life and think about what it means to the games you love and how you enjoy them.
I would like to thank sportsthenandnow.com for hosting this guest piece and sharing it with their readers. It is a wonderful website that give a lot of perspective to sports fans everywhere. I would like to direct readers to take a look at this piece on some of the decade’s best coaches after finishing here.