Innovation and technology have been the centre of attention in society for a while now, so it comes as no surprise that there have been some significant modern innovations occur in sports broadcasting. Some of these innovations make so much sense that we assume they have existed for far longer than they have. This article seeks to explore some of the most game-changing technology innovations that have appeared in recent years.
1. Video Assistant Referees
Love it or hate it, video-assisted referees (VAR) just makes sense to have! It has been a hot topic of debate recently as some fans feel as though it ruins the game. The idea behind VAR is that if a referee is unable to call the right decision, especially the more important ones, that they can then refer back to the instant replay. Many hearts have been broken over penalties given, offsides being ruled and more as the VAR showed the fans exactly what they didn’t want to see.
A key milestone for VAR occurred back in 2018 when FIFA approved the use of VAR for all matches that happened in the 2018 world cup. It’s safe to say that the decision was definitely greeted with mixed feelings.
2. The Use Of SpiderCams
Spidercams are most renowned for revolutionizing the coverage of rugby, however, they have been used in other sports such as test cricket. A Spidercam provides camera footage angle from a birds-eye view, which has been especially helpful when capturing scrums. While a lot of people welcome the use of spidercams, there have been a few incidents where it has been deemed to ruin a game. A notable example happened in the 2016 Rio Olympics in a game of volleyball. The ball hit the camera and the referee judged it as out of bounds costing the USA the game!
Unfortunately, sometimes there’s a bit of trial and error with new technology, and the incident in Rio highlighted that the cameras need to be higher up. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
3. The Growth Of Online Streaming
Online streaming has become an increasingly popular way to watch sporting events. This has been happening over a number of years now, as online streaming has become more and more accessible. With smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs, you can pretty much watch any game you want, in any place or time. This convenience has led to an increase in fan bases, and the wider accessibility of it has also contributed to this as now people can watch games that they may have never had access to before. For example, someone in South Africa might want to watch an NBA game happening all the way in North America.
Online streaming has improved a lot over the years, especially with the implementation of graphics. For more information, you can read this article, which discusses in more detail how graphics and customized advertising has developed over the years. Ultimately, the developments in streaming have brought fan bases together from across the world and are continuing to become more sophisticated by day! Especially with the current climate that we live in, Covid-19 has wiped out physical audiences and so there is a huge shift in focus onto how technology can improve the viewing experience of virtual audiences.
4. World Record Line Virtual Technology
If you are a swimming fanatic, there is nothing more exciting than watching the world record virtual line on your screen as the swimmer’s race alongside it! It was first introduced at the Sydney 2000 Olympics as a renowned swimmer, Eric Moussambani tried to break the 100-meter freestyle record.
The use of the virtual yellow line seems like a very simple concept but is such a clever and effective idea. It gives the viewers an extra element of enjoyment while watching the races.
5. The Use of Hawk-eye
The term ‘Hawk-eye’ refers to a camera that best predicts the trajectory of a ball’s direction in a game. It is an integral tool used in tennis, badminton, cricket, and football. In football, the notable camera system is used for goal-line technology (GLT) purposes. In simpler terms, this means it is used to see if the ball went over the line or not, as sometimes a referee on the ground just can’t make the call. While hawk-eye is widely used now, it was once upon a time a luxury to have during sporting events!
As the world of sport continues to grow and change, so does the need for new innovative technology to keep up with the sporting realm. The use of technology in sport has come so far already, yet is continuing to develop and surprise us. I’m sure that the pandemic will act as a catalyst in creating many more new and exciting technologies to come!