We’ve all seen and laughed at the commercial where the guy is pretending to pay attention to his girlfriend when he’s actually sneaking a peek at his phone to catch the game. For better or worse, this is a reality these days, as there is almost no way for you to miss watching a sporting event. Technology has not only made missing the big game impossible, but it’s also completely altered the way in which we watch our favorite sporting events. From social media and high def TV to tablets and even drones, read on for more info on five tech items that are changing the way we watch sports. What’s the over/under you’re going to love this? We’ll take the over!
1. Social Media
Remember when we thought social media was just a phase? We’ll give you a minute to LOL. Not only is this not a passing fad but it’s also quickly picking up speed in its reach and in its mediums. As with nearly everything in modern day life, this form of media has had a direct effect on the way we watch sports. From watching live events online and interacting with the actual players on Twitter to video highlights on Facebook and following the Instagram feeds of our favorite athletes, social media has made us all even bigger superfans. Head of Sports Broadcast Partnerships at Twitter Andrew Barge has even dubbed Twitter “the world’s largest digital sports bar.” Not only does social media give us access to the actual events, but it also gives us a way to chat about our favorite games/matches for days (or even months!) after they’ve happened. Fast food chain Wendy’s recently upped the madness ante on March Madness by offering an online sports bracket. This is a sports fan’s dream and social media only adds to the hype.
While drones used in an official capacity for sporting events are fairly strictly regulated, there are people using commercial drones to capture incredible footage. They were used in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi to film skiing and snowboarding. According to this article on sUAS News, “Drones have also been used to film Formula One races, the X Games, the AMA Supercross Series, high school football practices, and extreme sports events such as surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding.” The NFL primarily uses CableCam systems, which is actually the case in point in favor of drones, as these cable-suspended camera systems are limited in the areas they can cover. While the future of drones used in an official capacity for sports coverage is uncertain due to FAA and other regulations, many are pushing for drone use due its ability to catch otherwise impossible angles.
3. High-Def TV
When this came about, it was all the rage. Now it’s more the norm than something to “ooh” and “ahh” over … much to the dismay of some Hollywood actresses who could benefit from—ahem—low definition. High-Def TV, or HDTV, stands for high-definition television. This is a (relatively) new form of TV broadcasting using digital video as opposed to common analog formats. The resolution is also higher, at 720 or 1080 pixels. If you’ve viewed a sporting event on HDTV—particularly if it’s on a high tech television—it’s nearly impossible to go back to watching without high-def. In fact, some have suggested that ticket sales to live sporting events have declined since HDTV has come into play!
4. New Technology While Viewing Sports on TV
There is no guesswork when watching sports these days. With instant replay, the ability to freeze the frame, and all the other “fancy schmancy” ways to re-watch what you’ve just seen, the poor referees and umpires have their work cut out for them. Hell hath no fury like an avid sports fan whose team has been wronged, and so many of these methods of instant gratification allow us to feel like we’re actually part of the game. While instant reply has actually been a part of watching sports for years, there are plenty of new tech items that have changed the way we watch sports in recent years. K-Zone—which allows viewers to see whether a baseball makes it into the strike zone—debuted in 2001. Live streaming hit the sports scene in 2002. Pitch F/X—which allows viewers to know the velocity, spin, release point, and movement of a baseball—came about in 2006. In soccer, FIFA debuted goal-line technology in 2012. Quite simply, this camera-based system assesses whether the ball crossed the goal line, ensuring no mistakes.
Like social media, podcasts aren’t exactly about watching your fave sporting events in real time. Instead, the near fever-pitch fervor popular podcasts have caused helps to keep people talking about certain sports even during their off-season. Haven’t tried listening to one (or more!) yet? Immerse yourself into some of the best sports podcasts today.
These five tech items have drastically changed the way we watch sports. What do you think is next?