Technology is revolutionising the game forever and evolving the way we interact with it, but what exactly does this mean for the future of the sports industry? 

In a world of ever-changing trends, technology continues to evolve many industries to where they are today, as businesses forge new ways to stay connected with today’s changing world. 

The rapid increase in tech is showing no signs of slowing down, playing a huge part in how we live our lives. Though newer tech initiatives were first put in place to aid a remote/hybrid world when the reliance on tech was essential, the last couple of years has shown that tech not only helps on a practical level, but it is also working hand in hand to enhance the way we operate in ways we wouldn’t have thought was possible, showing the vast adaptability of technology. 

No business or sporting institution wants to be left as the starting line, and with 79% of the UK population believing their health has become more important over the last three years, the sports technology market size predicted to reach a value of £33 billion by 2027 to keep up with demand. Key players in the market are looking to focus on new technologies that can improve gameplay, bring fans on board from anywhere and even enhance performance and aid recovery.

New tech initiatives are framing the future of sport, from how it is played, watched and enjoyed from far and near. And from our conversations, we are hearing leading sporting brands are recruiting in their technology teams with the focus on hiring more engineering and data roles, showing sports brands must now keep up with accelerated tech trends that are transforming the way the game is played. 

Watch the game from anywhere 

With the rapid evolution of digital solutions to enhance the game, it’s hard to predict which new products will become the norm and which are just the latest fad. But what is clear is the way we watch the game, and more importantly, where we can watch the game has changed forever. 

At one point, it was just enough to watch the game at a venue, but it soon became clear that fans want more and thus the growing evolution of streaming providers, giving 24 hour access to games and highlights, and the access to real time updates during live matches for people unable to watch the game – as a result opening a community which people can engage. 

Implementing VR technology to the sporting world will help take people’s experiences in watching and playing the game to new levels, with predictions that one day VR will be as easy and accessible as turning on the TV.

The introduction of ‘smart stadiums’, sometimes called connected areas enables the user to immerse themselves to take the in-person venue experience to the next level. Users can benefit from smart navigation, multiple game viewpoints, real-time data with the help of 5G and more.

New technology is being introduced and evolved everyday – look at the evolution of VAR and how how far it has come since its FIFA World Cup debut in 2018 (and the controversies that have come with it). This shift ensuring the sporting world keeps up the with the pace that other industries are also embracing such as the use of AI

The rise in smart fitness 

As previously mentioned, having data engineers on your project is essential if applying machine learning and AI features. Using data analytics allows teams to make smarter decisions about player performance. A shift in focus is now seeing people concentrate on their recovery just as much as workouts. This doesn’t just apply to athletes, even the everyday gym-goer are able to learn and understand the importance of recovery. 

Around 14% of people in the UK have a gym membership which equates to about 10 million people based on current population and that is predicted to be more than double by the end of 2023. So as a nation focusing on prioritising our health and embarking on a fitness journey in the gym, fitness centres must ensure their membership platforms, apps and user experience features are easy to use and keep up with expected demand which users now expect as part of their everyday lives. 

The performance bar continues to rise 

These days, wearable technology has increasingly become a core accessory for both athletes and amateurs, and you don’t have to look far before seeing someone wearing an Apple Watch or Fitbit. In 2022, over 320 million devices were shipped worldwide and by 2024, it is predicted to reach around 440 million, with Apple selling more than 40 million Apple Watches in 2021 alone.

Thanks to wearable tech, players can wear devices that can not only track their movement and heart rate, but also improve performance and gain more insights into their game to every aspect of life, from tracking performance in the gym to discovering sleep patterns ensure better focus and energy. 

The future of sport tech 

Technology will continue to play a huge role in shaping the way the game is played, always looking for ways to go the extra mile. From what has been discussed and more, tech has changed the way sport is watched and played forever and the rapid advancements doesn’t seem to be slowing down. No one wants to be left at the starting line, so it’s “game on”, meaning the industry must take these opportunities as technology continues to evolve.