Adam Bjorn discusses how sports are evolving thanks to digital technologies
Sports has always been a major industry, both for its financial impact and its entertainment value.
The industry is constantly evolving as organizers search for new ways to increase fan engagement, and the Internet revolution has played a major role in expanding innovation. Even prior to the introduction of the Internet, though, digital technologies were being introduced that helped propel the industry forward, and gaming executive Adam Bjorn discusses the importance digital technologies have on sports.
Digital technology has been applied to sports since the mid-1960s, well ahead of the introduction of the Internet. It was used to improve data collection and analysis, and 50 years ago, it began to receive widespread attention. However, not until the 1980s did it really start to find mainstream acceptance and computer science began to find dedicated use in sports. It was then starting to find support for a wide range of data collection, from tracking and recording athletes’ heart rates to how they perform based on particular diets.
States Bjorn, “Digital Technology has changed the world of sports like no one could have ever imagined when I was in my 20s’, let alone as a teenager and younger. From consuming live sports with minimal latency and also having access to the relentless amount of information available on your beloved teams, your favorite athletes and also those teams and individuals you just can’t stand, even when you really know nothing about who they really are, this is a pipe dream for me as I entered adulthood.”
As the use of digital technology progressed in sports, it continued to prove to be a valuable tool in a number of different ways. Coaches were able to analyze greater amounts of data in order to identify weakness and improve their training routines, and players were able to glean information on their performances that was then used to enhance their abilities. Even athlete scouting was able to take advantage of the technology, utilizing it to create comprehensive profiles that, even today, leads to more precise evaluation of player abilities.
In the current sports world, everything from player uniforms to field equipment is being outfitted with technology that gathers massive amounts of data from the game. There are cameras being installed in football helmets, wearable recording devices being embedded into jerseys and digital trackers being installed in basketballs and soccer balls that transmit data to be included in massive databases that are used to measure accuracy and virtually every minute detail of the game. This isn’t just useful for coaching and practicing, as it can also be used for marketing purposes, allowing marketers to discover new ways to promote products and services and drive consumer spending.
Today, digital technology is finding new ways to assist the sports industry, as it enables the implementation of virtual reality and mobile broadcasting that would have been impossible years ago. These are taking the concept of fan engagement to an entirely new level, giving sports enthusiasts additional sources with which they can enjoy their favorite athletic competition. Digital technology allows online streaming and automatic interaction with social media sites, which helps ensure that fans can find up-to-date information on a game or contest as it happens, no matter where they are.
Social media is a direct result of digital technology innovation, and the presence of sports on social media platforms is one of the reasons it remains so popular. Not all are sports fans able to follow their games and interact with other like-minded individuals, but athletes can consistently be found on social media platforms, which gives their fans the ability to remain closer to them. Social media offers a unique opportunity for athletes to increase their fanbase and engage in self-marketing, as well as an opportunity for sports fans to always be on top of the latest details of any sports activity.
As innovation continues, the role digital technology plays in sports will only grow. A lot of advancement has taken place over the past several years, but there is potentially much more that can be developed.
The sports industry will never stop evolving, and digital technology is now going to be a major driving force behind that evolution.