In many ways, there has never been a better time to be a sports fan.
The way that we can engage and interact with our favorite teams and players, all from devices that fit into our pockets and bags, enables us to get closer to our preferred sports than ever before.
This enhanced experience is powered by new or improved technology, for the most part, and so we have a lot to thank Silicon Valley for.
Here’s just a handful of technologies that allow sports fans to follow their favorite teams and competitions closer than ever before.
Most of us take the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime for granted these days. There are some outstanding sports documentaries to watch on those channels – Last Chance U, The Last Dance and Amazon’s All or Nothing series make for epic viewing.
We can also stream live sporting action via our subscriptions and through sportsbook apps these days, while YouTube also remains a valuable tool. Here, brands such as BetDSI offer unique content around sports games, including betting tips, analysis and the latest news stories.
We all accept video as the new frontier for engaging content, and sports teams and governing bodies have recognized this and taken advantage accordingly.
Did you know that around four billion people worldwide own a smartphone?
This means that billions are comfortable in downloading and using apps, and this is another avenue that sports teams and brands have explored with plenty of success.
It’s a quicker and easier way to access content, with some sports teams using their apps as a vehicle for exclusive news and interviews not published elsewhere.
Sports apps can also complement your enjoyment of the action – from live scores and stats to previews, expert analysis and thought-provoking journalism.
Can you remember a day when you didn’t check your social media feeds incessantly?
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are as ubiquitous as eating, sleeping and breathing these days, and they are perfect channels via which you can follow your favorite sports.
Sometimes, athletes will post interesting content on their channels that, maybe, they wouldn’t be best advised to – it can be instant reactions after a game, or responding to rumors about a possible trade. This is some of the best sporting content!
Other times, they may offer their huge followings exclusive competitions and giveaways via their social platforms, conduct interviews not seen elsewhere, or share their own images and video content. For sporting stars who still manage their own Twitter and Instagram, these social media channels are some of the best ways to follow your favorites.
Some sports fans enjoy the action at face value, getting pleasure from simply watching the drama out on the pitch unfold.
However, others want to delve a little deeper, trying to find the stories within the story by studying the various advanced statistics that are available.
Sports Reference has become a giant in this space, providing advanced metrics and data for free across the sporting spectrum, from football and basketball to baseball and soccer.
Others have followed, and the result is that we all have access to unique stats – for free – that are employed by the recruitment staff at sports teams to improve performance or identify potential new signings. To that end, fans have never had a better chance to look ‘under the hood’ of how professional and college sports work.
Back in the noughties and early 2010s, QR codes were all the rage.
They then seemed to fade into obscurity for a while, but the COVID-19 pandemic – and the sensitivities it created about interpersonal contact – saw QR codes enjoy a renaissance around the globe.
From restaurant menus to vaccination passes, these digital barcodes have become the norm in everyday life – and sports teams have been quick to jump back on board.
Fans can scan a QR code to access content on their device, enter competitions and even order food and drinks at half-time, and more and more teams are using QR codes as a mechanism for tickets – rather than traditional paper copies.
Can you remember the game Pokémon GO?
For most of us, this was our first introduction to augmented reality (AR) – the technology that enables us to overlay the digital world on top of our real environment.
In the not-too-distant future, you will be able to use your smartphone or tablet to find your seat in the stadium – the AR tech will highlight where you’re sitting on your device’s screen. This will save the time and hassle of stepping on peoples’ toes as you try to make it to your seat in time for kick-off.
Sports teams are also utilizing AR-powered machine learning to analyze their players, helping to improve their performance and also to monitor for potential injuries and fatigue.
In the future, tech such as Google Glass will enable wearers to access stats and replays in real -time, enhancing their experience.
It’s a brave and exciting new world, and we can only thank technology for that!