(This is a guest article by Michael Coco)
We all know that technology plays a major role in sports. If it weren’t for new inventions and innovative ideas half the sports we know of wouldn’t exists. If it weren’t for technology we wouldn’t have the instant replay, the headset for coaches to throw, or even the wireless microphone for our referees to mix up their words on. However, technology has come a long way since those early discoveries.
There is no longer a need for instant replay with the new RFID tags (Radio Frequency Identification Technology) that European Rugby teams are experimenting with. This micro location technology can transmit the exact coordinates of the ball and players at an astounding 2000 times per second. It can also be used to calculate movement, speed, accuracy, and even force of impact. If this technology was implemented in the US it could do away with any type of bad call in relation to ball location and it would essentially eliminate the guess work from officiating. Not only that, but the type of data we could receive before, during, and after every play would be nothing shy of amazing.
The European Rugby League is not the only organization that sees the value in technology; The NHL recently held its first broadcast in 3D and from the sound of things it was a huge success. There are other leagues exploring this technology, in fact there are enough of them out there for ESPN to launch the first ever 3 dimensional network. Certain European Hockey Teams are already implementing 3D dashboard signage. Once the craze catches on the opportunities to monopolize on this type of technology will be endless.
Many athletes are taking advantage of the latest and greatest trends in technology as well. Competitive Ice Skaters like Clint Johnson and Steve Bradbury are taking their experience on the ice to the design table. They have developed a new way to make skates using a process called rapid prototyping. This process allows athletes to get a custom pair of boots made in record time and be on the ice with them faster than ever before. Even better than that, is a prototype that researchers in the Netherlands are working on which will allow athletes to coach themselves. It’s not a video or instructional pamphlet; it’s a state of the art apparel line that can sense your every move and let you know which areas you need to improve. This clothing line, which is known as the Haptic Sports Garment, uses vibrations to help improve posture, target key muscle groups and even help maintain optimal speeds.
With the onslaught of social media, there are also many technological advances taking place away from the field. We all know that athletes are using social sites like Twitter, Facebook and USTREAM to connect with fans and build their personal brand, but did you know that they can now make money directly from doing it? iPhone applications like the Chad OchoCinco Experience are earning athletes money from both point of sale and ad revenue; and, websites like fanwave.com allow athletes, coaches, and teams alike to capitalize on every tweet they send. There are also third party applications like Venuing and Twackle that allow fans to become more involved with their respective teams and players than ever thought possible.
It’s almost impossible to try and imagine where technology will take us next. Will there one day be tiny live cameras and microphones inserted into basketballs, footballs, and baseballs that allow fans to get an even closer view of the action? Will we all one day be playing video games with holographic players on a life size field? Will advertising one day be controlled using our brain waves? It may all sound far-fetched but the technology is there, and it may be on the the market sooner than you think.
Michael Coco is an Event Coordinator at Octagon Sports Marketing who has been working in sports nearly all his life. Getting his start with a well established sports publication entitled South Louisiana Sports Scene, Michael steadily has built upon his passion and knowledge of the industry. Michael, aka Coco, specializes in marketing and event planning and has done work with various organizations including, the New Orleans Zephyrs as a marketing and community relations Associate. He currently resides in the Chicagoland area but is a Southern boy at heart and is always up for a good conversation. If you feel obliged to reach out, you can connect with him on Twitter @michaelcoco or LinkedIn