How Have Sports Evolved with Technological Advances?

Since the early 1960’s, with the first piece of sports technology being an electronic automated timing system with a photo finish mechanism, sports have seen a tremendous improvement and an extensive importance in technology over the years.

It has helped sports become unbiased, easier, and quicker. For example, coaches and players can get feedback and information about the game, their statistics, what they can improve on and their health physically and mentally. It has also had the ability to increase accuracy in time measurements of sport performance enabling referees, umpires, and sport officials to make better decisions on the field or challenging calls.

Much of the sports technology has enhanced the way sports are played and has made the games equitable for the players and coaches.

Patriot High School Sports Marketing teacher, Jill Cahill, talked about her opinion on sports technology. 

“Personally, I think game technology has made the game fairer,” Cahill said. “When we rely 100% on human-made decisions and judgements, we will always have some form of bias and error. While umpires and referees are honest and impartial, they are still human and will make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are costly in big ways.”

Limiting bias and oversight are significant in reviewing plays, for example, if the umpires or referees make a call that a team does not agree with, the team or the player can challenge the call, like a re-call, they look at the replay and they can make the call again and turn it over, these challenges are surprisingly common in the sports world.

In addition to limiting bias and error, coaches and players can receive much more essential information back with the technology of sports. This helps with physical health, mental health, and understanding information about gameplay and stats.

Nevertheless, the sports world also holds some of the drawbacks with technology in sports is how some players and teams take advantage of technology by cheating, stealing stats or calls that are not supposed to be taken like what happened in the Houston Astros Cheating scandal. “In 2017, the Houston Astros baseball team was caught stealing signs from their opposing team which affected the outcome of certain plays. In 2019, pitchers were caught using illegal substances, like Spider Tack and sometimes sunscreens from Rosin, to get a better grip on the baseball.”

On cheating, Cahill states “I don’t think it is necessarily getting out of hand because it always existed. The difference is that teams are now getting caught more easily because of improved technology. I think that the publicity that these cheating scandals are getting might reduce the amount of cheating in the future.”

Sports has seen a continuous build up in popularity due to the technology in streaming services like YouTube, Hulu, Peacock, FOX sports and ESPN+. 

“Streaming companies, such as YouTube TV have allowed programs traditionally only shown over cable channels to reach this newer generation expanding teams’ fan bases exponentially and allowing games to be viewed virtually anywhere,” Cahill said.

Sports have seen a higher increase with streaming sports on different media platforms than in-person attendance at stadiums. This gives the chance for online websites and products to have the stage light on them and their products, as they can now get more sales and more attention just with more people watching games online.

Streaming sports have a massive impact like fans being able to watch from home who can’t go to the game in person, or someone who just wants to watch the game from the comfort of their own home. Streaming technology, game play technology, camera technology all has a major effect on today’s sports, and it is important that this technology keeps improving.