How Technology Is Changing the World of Sports
There is a lot of money to be made in the field of sports, therefore, sporting administrators constantly worry about the impact any changes to their sports may have on viewers. If there are no viewers, the sporting world may suffer because most sports have become packaged products to be sold on live TV and watched by millions of people all over the world. For this reason, the introduction of technology to sports has been extremely tricky.
Match officials these days, work side by side technology, this is said to often put pressure on them and contribute to negative performances. For instance, Ottawa Matters reports that the first 2019 Ashes test match between England and Australia saw several on-field umpire decisions overturned following the use of DRS.
Cricket umpires work knowing that they are under scrutiny, first from the media and secondly from the use of technology to monitor the game. This has been reported to be a huge source of stress for the umpires, who are sometimes required to stand for up to five days during a test match. Many times their results are challenged and overturned using technology and this can lead to a build-up of pressure on the umpire throughout the game. The same thing goes for football referees who are exposed to extensive media coverage.
Technology is also said to have changed player behaviour in cricket. There have been cases where player behaviour, have led to the removal of technology. According to Tom Webb of the University of Portsmouth writing for the conversation, “Hotspot is an infrared imaging system used to show whether a ball had struck a batsman, bat or pad. But it was taken out of the DRS after it was shown that placing tape along the edge of the bat could fool the thermal imaging cameras that were there to detect the heat created by the friction when a ball hits a bat, no matter how slightly.”
Technology has also changed the way spectators view the games. This change is sometimes for the better and sometimes for worse. While technology does a good job of reducing the number of errors in a game, it also means that spectators at a stadium would have to wait for technology to decide if what they think was a goal was indeed a goal, else they stand the chance of rejoicing over an assumed goal, just to have the victory taken away by technology.
There is also heavy criticism of the use of VAR on the pitch. It is said that spectators often do not know what is happening on the pitch when VAR is being used. There have been debates as to whether spectators should be allowed to witness the entire VAR decision-making process, and it has been reported that the use of big screens in the stadiums to replay VAR decisions has been approved for the 2019-2020 Premier League season, displaying the incident to supporters to help them understand what is going on. Critics, however, argue that showing the entire VAR decision-making process might be too much waste of time.
However one looks at it, it is obvious that the changes to the way sports are officiated have changed the way that players and spectators engage and sporting administrators must be careful in the use of technology if they hope to hold spectators trust.