Technology in sports bring fans closer to the game

Apr 25, 2024 | Sports

Technology is revolutionizing how communication companies market the game, any game, to sports fans. And fans have more opportunities to engage with their favourite team.

Major League Baseball offers digital “player tokens,” which fans can trade. The mission is to reinvent the way enthusiastic sports fans collect authentic products and experiences for their favourite athletes and teams.

While instant replay has long been a critical part of the sports experience, both in stadiums and on TV, fans also can view live game highlights. Minutes, if not seconds, after a goal or a basket, fans can catch it on social media and share it in an instant. It allows fans to prolong their engagement and interest in the live action.

Jake Leroux, a television producer for the Toronto Raptors and NBA TV Canada, says many positives have come from technology involving sports.

“I think when technology made its stride in sports it was from instant replays,” Leroux said.

He said the technology offers referees the ability to instantaneously review calls, such as if the feet were within bounds or if a shot was released before the shot clock expires.

“I mean, look at tennis. You have that ball that they live track to tell whether it’s in or out,” he continued.

As a producer, Leroux admits that trying to find ways to connect with viewers presents challenges. However, the growth in streaming, especially free streaming on sites like YouTube and Instagram, allows for a sure way to get the audience’s attention.

“When you are live, and it says you are live, you can comment away. You can interact with the show, and that has been the connection between sports in technology and fans,” he said.

The sports industry wants to attach the second screen experience. Fans watching a game at a bar or with friends at home are often on their phones doing something else.

Adam Kruger, director of content for the Winnipeg Jets, says technology has positively affected today’s game.

“It allows for better quality content, a better quality on-field product and a better overall fan experience. I can see (virtual reality) becoming a potential new way to bring fans closer to the action,” he said.

Kruger said he credits tech advances for increased viewership in sports.

“Improved broadcast quality has allowed fans to get closer to the action on broadcasts and now you can watch the game wherever you are through various streaming platforms,” Kruger said.

Theresa Kirkland, a media preparation operator, prepares content that is aired across all Sportsnet (SN) channels, including live events, commercials and pre-recorded content.

Kirkland says technology is a major part of society and in the sports world that is no different.

“I have seen firsthand while doing my job, and few other roles within the same realm, that without technology in a variety of forms, sports would not be possible to both acquire and consume,” she said.