The development of technology over the years has affected many aspects of life, not least the world of sports. Fans, players, sporting federations and the sports betting industry have been grappling with a whole host of changes in recent years that have changed their cherished pastimes and industries forever.
From the surge in popularity of Esports, to the advent and role out of more AI technology, here are the top tech trends set to impact the future of sports and sports betting (if they haven’t already).
Alterations of Existing Rules
Over the years, there have been numerous examples as to where sports have adapted new rules as a result of technology. Take football, or soccer, as an example, where the emergence of new pinpoint camera systems has led to the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR). The introduction of VAR has caused changes to the rules of football; most pertintly the continuous changes of the hand ball rule and for offside calls.
Further rules could be changed following the proliferation of this sort of technology and we could be facing a scenario where referees and officials could be replaced, using video replays to make decisions during play instead.
Traditional Sports just aren’t as popular
Viewership figures and individual participation in ‘traditional’ sports such as football/soccer, rugby, athletics and basketball (amongst others) have reduced over the last few years. A possible reason for this could be that the majority of Generation Z (people born between 1996-2010) are less interested in sports than generations before. The emergence of more non–traditional options such as e-sports, adventure activities and even entertainment sources such as TV series and movies have rivalled the traditional sports in terms of the amount of people interested in them. More and more people are perceiving sports as boring or losing interest in sports over time. The demand for the ‘non-traditional’ forms of entertainment will not be going away any time soon either!
The Growth of E-Sports
For those who may not know, E-Sports are online multiplayer video games. The growth of E-Sports nowadays has been very significant, with predictions of 3 billion people expected to play by 2023, compared to 2 billion people in 2015. Because of changes of opinion that these video games are accepted as sports, professionalism of e-athletes are very similar to athletes of more traditional sports. E-Athletes practice and play often to perfect their craft, with coaches hired to help the e-athletes with strategy to enhance their performance, and even nutritionists to give advice for different food and drink to help them focus!
The Sports Betting Industry
The sports betting industry has had to tackle many challenges this year owing to the lack of live sporting events, particularly earlier this year. When sports events have recommenced they’ve also had to contend with the advent of new technology in football such as VAR (mentioned above), which has caused widespread confusion amongst many; particularly UK sports betting fans who wager on English football.
Although these challenges look set to continue, the popularity of alternative sports like E-sports provides a golden opportunity for the industry to capitalise on. Bookmakers in the UK and afar now even offer unique E-sports related betting offers and promotions in a bid to attract E-sports fans. Some of these offers include free bets that enable punters to make profit without placing deposit, and there are also even enhanced odds promotions available that enable fans to back their favourite E-sports competitor to win a match or tournament- with far more lucrative odds on offer.
As E-sports continues to rise, so will the amount that is wagered on the outcome of E-sports matches, and this could prove to be very lucrative for businesses in the sports betting industry over the coming years
Technology has meant that the border between countries, oceans and continents has been erased, so more people than every have been able to watch sport.
Sports teams and organisations have been using this to their advantage by trying to attract more fans which leads to more revenue for themselves. The value of viewership and streaming rights between companies has drastically increased because demand to see these sport competitions and matches has also increased.
Major sports teams have even started to do pre-season tournaments and exhibition matches abroad to peak more sports fans interest. This is something which has been popular for over a decade and certainly will not fade away!
Artificial Intelligence has already reduced the need for human analysis when it comes to sports teams recruiting players. Detailed scout reports consisting of the most in depth statistical analysis, are growing more popular by the year as a way for clubs to identify potential candidates who should represent the sports organisation.
Statistics recorded surpass data showing goals or passes completed by a player in a game or season, but now also features information such as the amount of running players are completing per half or per game and also data of player’s playing patterns. Scrutiny of players injury past, such as the type of injury, duration of rehabilitation period and chance of injury recurrence are also popular information used by sports teams when weighing up whether or not they should sign a player. Factors such as these are reducing the need for human scouting and analysis because the level of detail provided because of developments of technology are a lot more than what a human can provide.