The Future of Sports In A Digital World

Giles CrouchGuest Post: Giles Crouch is one of Canada’s leading thinkers on issues relating to our digital world including social media and civil society. He brings 20 years experience in the technology industry, including co-founding two software companies; a .com and a Big Data analytics firm.  You can connect with Giles on LinkedIn or Twitter.

In a few years, the way we watch sports will not change much. How we interact with sports teams and the stats we all love to banter about…will change drastically.  It all started with FitBit, Jawbone, the Nike+ products. Now Apple Watch and other smart watches.  Even, Adidas is integrating sensors into certain clothing and now Athos gym clothes are adding sensors.

Team Player Wearables & Interaction
Imagine watching a hockey game where you can tap the screen on your iPad, or perhaps pull up data on your 80″ LCD super HD screen and check on your favourite players actual physical data as they’re playing. Heart rate, caloric burn, muscle performance, oxygenation, and on…perhaps in future, sports teams and even skiiers, cyclists or snowboarders will have embedded tech and they can choose what to share with fans? Think of skiers, you could get real-time snow, wind and temperature data.

Changing The Betting Game
Into online betting? Imagine some intense betting algorithms as you watch a skier come down the slope and data pours in estimating finish times compared to others and odds that shift in seconds? Or baseball and hockey games that let you see what’s happening and shift bets during a game? You can watch in the local sports pub and have added data on your mobile!

Sportscasters Stats Mania
This of course presents the poor sportscasters with much more fodder to relay to fans during discussions. Can you hear it now?

“Well Crosby was burning 3000 calories in the 2nd period and he should’ve kept it lower and his heart rate was 15 bpm’s over where it should’ve been otherwise…”

Venue & Object Data Feeds
Beyond the athletes wearing technology, arenas, stadiums, tracks, runs…all could have sensors that feed data into the digital sphere. Data we can select or reject or mesh with how we want. Perhaps footballs, pucks, birdies, balls…all will have sensors that deliver time, distance, hit power and the like will be available as well.

Maybe hockey gloves will have sensors that can tell how hard players were punching each other in the corner? Or proof of sticking?

However it all goes, I suspect the big innovations in wearable devices will come from the sports world. What do you think?