March Madness: The Impact of Technology on Sports

March 8, 2024

It’s that time of the year: March Madness! To commemorate this month’s athletic atmosphere, we’re doing something a little different and focusing on how technological advances have helped improve the sports world. Players, coaches, and even audiences have benefited from the introduction of more technology in sports.

- Wearable tech has proven remarkably effective in recent years. Smart watches, for instance, have given athletes the ability to track important data. These can be used to monitor things like distance, velocity, and time—all things to improve precision in sports training. Smart watches are also useful for maintaining an athlete’s health: sleep quality, heart rate, and body temperature are all data points that many people record to stay as healthy as possible. Helmets and mouthguards have also been implementing technology into their designs to track potential injuries.

- The explosion of virtual reality (VR) in sports training has been utilized in a variety of contexts. It allows rehabilitating athletes to practice in a safe environment without fear of greater injury. Because VR is so versatile, it can simulate many different situations, giving trainers the freedom to curate specific exercises. Like smart watches, it can also be used to track users’ precise movements closely. Players and coaches alike get greater support by using VR.

- Technology has led to an improved experience for sports fans as well. The increased use of drone technology has meant that sports broadcasts can provide visuals from previously inaccessible angles. Additionally, these recordings allow commentators to analyze plays with better accuracy. As streaming services like Hulu and ESPN+ become more commonplace, more people have access to live sports that may be harder to find on broadcast TV. Additionally, this allows fans to watch past games, catch up on what they missed, or relive favorites.

- Though there is still debate as to its validity as a “sport”, esports has rapidly grown in popularity. Over the past decade, it has undergone a transformation from a niche activity to a billion-dollar industry. When ESPN and the International Olympic Committee both treat it as viable, it is hard to argue against its role in sports. Games such as League of Legends, Valorant, and Fortnite have dominated the esports scene, with tournaments being held around the world. If there’s an argument to be made for what the newest mover and shaker in the sports world is, esports is definitely a contender.

It's clear that technology will play a significant role in the future of athletics. Whether it be improving players’ safety, establishing training regimes, or introducing new games entirely, the evolution of technology is set to continue influencing sports.

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