With the advancements in technology and the development of new ideas to improve sport, what will the future of sport look like? The sports landscape has been experiencing a technological change for some time now since the birth of the internet in the early 20th century. It has changed the way that fans and players interact with the sports industry. Technology and social media have always been an intricate part of how fans directly interact with players and clubs. Some of the advancements include, VAR, eSports, AI, and new forms of social media like clubhouse.
Virtual Assistant Referring or VAR has been around since the 2016 in the Premier League of English Football. VAR has always been a subject of debate amongst the fans and the clubs about it’s effectiveness or how it ruins football in general. It slows the game down and takes away the excitement of the game at times. VAR was intended to help fix the mistakes that referees make throughout the match and help be keeping the game as fair as possible. Sports rely on rule making and adherence to achieve a particular kind of experience. Sports rely on controversy since breaking the rules betrays the tact agreement made between the competitors to maintain those rules. (Miah, 2017)
The biggest thing to come to the world of sport, is eSports. eSports has been big in the Asian market, but it has slowly started to makes it’s way over the US and other countries. Esports will become the biggest form of sport in the world within a decade if not sooner due to the popularity and inexpensiveness of the sport. The global pandemic has made the popularity of the sport grow faster than people could have imagined due to everyone being stuck inside. Esports is the next big thing to come to competitive world and businesses are starting to realize that. Toronto has build a 7,000 seater arena that cost roughly half a billion dollars. It is going to open in 2025. The cultural development of eSports is associated with the emergence of professional and semi-professional tournaments, where consumers have been able to celebrate organized and competitive gaming practices, ‘by authenticating their consumption in a real world, traversing the boundaries between the online and offline
experience of competitive computer games (Seo and Jung, 2016)
Artificial Intelligence is being implemented in sports today, but not in a physical form just yet. AI technology is currently being used to assist fans with their inquires about a vast range of topics. They are also being used to for automated journalism and their wearable technology is being used to better understand the performance of players. The NFL is looking into using AI’s as assistant coaches in the future. A soccer team in San Diego is using AI technology to help boost fan engagement by allowing them to change seats to a more engaging area from game to game. Fans want to feel like that are more involved in the game and with the players. AI technology offers that by giving them more personalized experiences and automated interactions which will help with fan engagement.
Lastly, Social Media will continue to play a big part in the future of sports. Podcast, new interactive streaming services like Twitch, and newer forms of social media like Clubhouse. Clubhouse is an audio based platforms that allows you to enter a room and chat with whoever is in the room without ever seeing their face. Audio platforms are currently the latest social media buzz with podcast helping push the idea that audio content is what the people want right now. Audio platforms will help fans interact with players and other influencers being hold a virtual meet and greet. It’s safer and much easier to control because it lets the player or influencer control what is being said.
The future of media in sport is hard to predict because of the constant changes in technology and consumer trends. However, technology will be developed that will help the fans engage with the players and organizations as the years go on. Organizations will be looking to utilize media to help generate revenue for them and cost overhead cost. The use of AI technology will increase as the years go on because it offers a competitive advantage in a lot of areas. Further down the road they might even replace athletes all together. Esports will be the biggest sport in the world in a decade or sooner because of its international exposure. In ten years time media and sports will look a lot different because of the advancements that have been made.