Technology has had a profound impact on every aspect of our lives, especially over the past couple of decades. The world of sport has been affected as much as anything else, and although innovation can sometimes be greeted with suspicion, few can argue that some changes have definitely been for the better.
Let’s start with the most obvious, but also the most controversial. Whether it’s DRS in cricket or VAR in football, using replays to check whether the on-field official got it right has provoked plenty of debate. Those against say it goes against the basic rule that the umpire or referee’s decision is final and that it holds up play. However, when TV audiences, fans, and even players can watch super slo-mo replays, it’s neither realistic nor fair to expect the official to make a call based on what he saw from a distance in a fraction of a second.
Betting on sport has been completely revolutionized in the digital age. Once seen as a seedy pastime conducted in back street betting shops, it is now a fun way for fans to get behind their team with a small wager, meaning they get an extra cause for celebration if the result goes their way. Sports betting online in India is still predominantly focused on cricket, but today’s online platforms give access to dozens of other sports all over the world, from the English Premier League to the NBA.
Sports betting is just one of several ways technology has helped fans to better engage with the sports they love. We just mentioned the English Premier League. While 20 years ago, everyone had heard of Manchester United, it was only the select few who had the equipment and the disposable income to be able to watch them in action. Now, there are dozens of websites offering live streams, highlights, interviews, and more.
It was only a generation ago that we were watching Inzamam Ul Haq waddling between the wickets and Phil Tufnell discarding a cigarette on his way out to the middle. Today’s sports stars are athletes in every sense of the word, and sport is all the better for it. Wearable technology makes it possible to constantly monitor what’s going on inside an athlete’s body, both to provide optimal nutrition tailored to the individual and to spot signs of a potential problem or injury before the athlete is even aware of it.
Technology is even redefining sport itself – or at least, it is broadening its definition. eSport is now big business, with a growing fanbase, solid media coverage, and some big-name sponsorship deals. It is, perhaps, the fastest evolving area of sport, as while newcomers are just getting to grips with established eSport games like DOTA 2, League of Legends, and CS: GO, new areas like mobile eSport are rapidly growing and seem set to dominate the genre in the years ahead.