Emerging Technologies In The Sports Industry

Kailash Kandpal, CEO, Insurekot SportsKailash has been managing the complete P&L of the sporting venture of Kotak family. Working with the central league team and federation on ideas to grow the sport, he has introduced policies for long term retention of players as fans start associating them with teams, injury management of players, taking the sport outside Indian territories.

In today's day and age, technology is continuously revolutionising the number of industries and the sport industry is no different. It has changed the way we consume sports altogether. Advancements in technology have created an impact on the audiences, the athletes as well as the businesses.

For the audience, the way we watch, interpret and overall experience of the sport has changed .For athletes technology is no lesser than a boon. It has helped them a lot to up their game and has provided things like tracking, video analysis, and training platforms. As technology continues to engulf every aspect of the sporting world, athletes, training and sports viewership are all changing remarkably .There are many important technology trends are taking the sports world by storm.

Below are a few emerging technologies which I feel have transformed the sports industry:

• Virtual Reality: Virtual Reality has dominated the sports technology space and has impacted different aspects of sports. It is used in many sports as an aid to measuring one's performance as well as analysing techniques to improve performance. There are 3D systems that can pinpoint certain aspects of an athlete's performance which require an improvement and many sports teams are increasingly investing millions in VR technology. Virtual reality has also been used to improve the audience's experience of a particular sports event. Some systems even allow the audience a virtual walk through a stadium or other sporting location, which helps them when purchasing a ticket to a specific event. For those fans who cannot go to the stadium to watch live matches, VR ensures that they don't feel left out and can experience the same at the click of a button. For fan engagement, there are also various interactive sports themed VR games which allow the player to become part of the competition.

• Wearables & Training Equipment: There are wearable devices that
allow for real-time tracking of an athlete's health. There are minuscule electronic devices that can be attached on to the athlete's body, clothing, footwear & equipment to track heart rate, stride, speed, distance and other critical information which in turn is being used by the coaching staff for a deeper understanding and analysis of one's performance. In Kabbadi the wear able technology tells the coach how much energy is left in a player has going in to closing moments of the game, this helps in substitution. A fresh player full of energy is more agile and less prone to make errors.

• Advanced technology for reviews: Earlier, the referees had only one camera for reviews and replays. But technological upgradation has helped them deliver a fair and unbiased judgements in the sport. Today with instant replays and 360 degree cameras, one gets an unprecedented view of the entire action. These high-tech cameras track each and every player, each shot, and every inch of the field. The cameras that are used to shoot live matches offer high picture quality & clarity and is able to capture even minutes of the details. Many times, there may be an error on the part of the referee, which may have changed the entire outcome of the game, but the advanced review and replay system has almost eliminated that margin of errors. These technologies have now reached the fields of almost all the prominent sports like Kabaddi, cricket, golf, athletics, football, lawn tennis, etc.

A fresh player full of energy is more agile and less prone to make errors.

• E-sports/Fantasy sports platforms: Just like other industries, Sports is also being disrupted by technology advancements and cultural shifts, with E-sports being one of the innovations. Fantasy Sports is basically competitive video game playing, where one assembles virtual teams of real players to play the game. It is a new form of entertainment that has attracted an immense number of followers and viewers. With platforms like Dream 11, it has slowly entered the mainstream creating another form of entertainment for fans that is highly interactive. It gives sports fans a platform to showcase their sports knowledge while playing fantasy cricket, football, kabaddi etc. Although e-sports is new and nascent compared to other traditional sports business, it has evolved and proliferated in an unprecedented manner within the span of its short history.

• Artificial Intelligence: Technology has become pervasive in sports and a key contributor to its evolution both inside the stadium and outside, enabling each player and team to reach their best. AI can deliver advanced performance analytics, whether it's finding clips of all the winning tactics or visual analysis of every play. AI also provides real-time game statistics for players and fans, game tactics prediction to enable the player to choose the right strategy and even alert the player in case of a potential decline in performance or injury. And with improving technology through better sensors, processors, and algorithms, AI is definitely paving the way for the future.

• Increasing use of OTT platforms: Today one can watch live matches on-the-go without the need of a television. Owing to digital consumption of content and OTT platforms like Hotstar, live sports streaming has been on the rise and more consumers are preferring to watch live sports on the OTT platform rather than on their couch.

As technology continues to evolve by the day, the barriers between fans, athletes, and teams will soon be flattened out and sports will invite more cross-platform participation than ever before. Technology is here to stay and the upcoming years will definitely see an exponential increase in its applications and usage within the sporting world.