Stuck in the past for many decades, football has turned a corner in the past few years as technology is now being widely accepted in the sport- handing fans new ways to watch and follow their teams whilst even helping the officials that manage the game.
The growth of money within football over the past two decades has seen a significant rise in football coverage, with channels now dedicated to the Premier League and other elite competitions across the continent.
That, in turn, has led to new ways to watch the coverage, and Arsenal recently became the first Premier League side that will install new technology at the Emirates Stadium, which will allow fans to watch 3D highlights of the Gunners.
This follows on from the installation of goal-line technology in the Premier League and the tests of utilizing Video Assistant Referees in top matches, with the League Cup final between Arsenal and Manchester City being one of the latest to try to new technology.
From there, the evolution of technology in sports is only going to grow further, and fans can be excited about the developments around the corner. For instance, go to Sport Data API for soccer data from all around the world in convenient JSON-Format.
Ways to watch
Football fans have already been given new ways to digest the sport with regular developments that improve their ways of watching. With HD, 4K, and 3D coverage, all become regular in recent seasons.
Highlights packages are also now available online, as are some live matches. This is likely to extend further amidst speculation that Amazon and Netflix’s likes want to get involved with providing live coverage.
Across the world, new companies such as DAZN have launched to provide online coverage of sports, and, given the success of Netflix and Amazon Prime, many see on-demand sport as the future.
Naturally, that leads technological companies like BT and Sky to continuously adapt their coverage and options for fans, with a successful venture coming from the latter in the Champions League coverage- where the Goals Show during the group stages allows fans to watch every goal as they go in.
In the future, the 3 pm restriction of coverage on football could be lifted, and a similar package could be optioned for fans of the Premier League and Football League, which will once again make the sport more accessible.
It’s not just the fans that are being aided by technology, though, as match officials also see the pressure upon them reduced by technological benefits- the biggest of which has been the introduction of goal-line technology.
The request for this was increased after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where England’s Frank Lampard was denied a clear goal in a knock-out clash with Germany, which played a part in another premature exit from the competition.
Now, goal-line technology is present at all 20 Premier League grounds and has now been extended to the second-tier of English football, the Championship. It will be used in the play-offs for both the League One and League Two play-off finals at Wembley, where Aston Villa look like a steady bet to be involved.
One of the latest developments being explored this season is VAR’s use, an additional assistant that referees can consult to watch key incidents. Whilst it has had its teething problems, it has been a success in Germany’s Bundesliga this season, and VAR will be used in this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Technology for players
The impact of technology has also spread to the players, particularly in training with the clubs, as teams can now track numerous aspects of a player’s development using heart-rate monitors and statistical analysis.
Playing surfaces could also be subject to technological changes in the coming years, as the demand for artificial pitches is growing- especially amongst lower-end clubs who consider that option to be cheaper than maintaining a grass field.
Currently, the Football League prevents the use of artificial turf, but it can be used at a non-league level, although the clubs have to sign an agreement to change the field to grass in the event of promotion.
While this technology’s cost is expensive for many, the growing competition should leave prices becoming more affordable- especially as one of the biggest criticisms for football is the lack of accessibility to fans.
With sponsorship deals on the rise, football’s price should be reduced, but we haven’t seen that change yet. However, it could come in the years that follow- and technology could play its part.