Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

How the Internet has Influenced Sport

Posted on February 12, 2019 by Liam Hughes

Internet and sportsPeople have been playing, watching and betting on sports for thousands of years but the past 30 years have seen the world of sport change like never before. It’s not that we’re playing games that differently or that more people are participating, it’s because the internet has revolutionized our whole relationship with them. It has opened up a host of new opportunities, to check results, read informed comment, and to watch sport, and has made the various sports accessible to more people than ever before.

All the details

Keeping up with sporting results used to require turning on the radio or sitting in front of the television at a certain time and waiting through a lot of irrelevant results to hear the ones that mattered to you. Miss them and you had to wait for the next broadcast, phone around your friends or go out in search of more information. Now you can get results online as soon as a game is finished or watch them stream in point by point. There’s a tremendous amount of detail available and it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want insights and opinions to go along with it.

Following sport online also makes it easy to keep track of rankings, fixtures and transfers so that you can stay up to date on every aspect of your passion.

Increased viewing options

Instead of being limited to the games shown on your network and watching them at times of the network’s choosing – even if that means they’re not live and you have to spend all day trying to avoid hearing the result – you can now watch almost any game live simply by finding out who’s carrying it. Even when several events are running simultaneously and being broadcast by the same network, you can usually find links to view them online, and you can split your screen if you wish so that you can watch several at once. The internet also makes it easy to watch when you’re out and about, and it even allows you to watch on your phone when you’re supposed to be focusing on something else.

New audiences

All these new ways of connecting with sport mean that it has expended its global reach. Time zones no longer present such a barrier to spectatorship and in many places it’s much easier to get hold of a phone, and phone connection, than a television. This has brought sports previously limited to small regions to worldwide attention, something particularly noticeable when it comes to martial arts. it also means that US sports have become popular in new areas. That has led to pressure for some major events and tournaments to be held in different countries so that spectators have the chance to watch them live, disappointing some longstanding fans and adding to the pressure on competitors to work year-round.

Minority sports

The internet has been particularly positive for the minority sports, helping them to connect more easily with their fans and giving them increased visibility overall. It has made it easy for competitors to find sponsors, bringing new money into the sports and helping them to raise professional standards. That has seen sports like beach volleyball and rollerblading grow rapidly. It has helped raise the profile of women’s sports which have historically struggled to be taken as seriously as their male equivalents. This has, in turn, encouraged more girls to get involved in sport, which is likely to lead to long-term improvements in health.

Online gambling

The internet has also expanded options for people who want to bet on sports, enabling them to do so from anywhere rather than having to visit a traditional gambling establishment. An example is  Sugarhouse online casino that makes it easy to investigate the odds across a range of sports and to place bets directly. The rise of online commerce means that paying for these bets and retrieving any winnings has also become easier and there’s a greater variety of payment options available.

Participation in sport

Unless you’re a fan of games like Starcraft which are seen as sports in some countries but not others, you won’t be able to play sports online. You can, however, find local teams and supporters’ groups online, making it easier to get directly involved. You can use online shopping to find equipment at much more affordable prices than those offered by traditional stores. When you play – even if your chosen sport is a solo endeavor like running – you can use portable technology to monitor your performance and compare it with others all around the world, giving you the chance to compete or to enjoy a social sporting experience no matter where you are.

With internet technology and culture continuing to develop at speed, we can be certain that the future will see still more change and that sport will continue to develop in new ways as a result.

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