How Technology is Shaping Sports and Fan Experiences Forever


Do you remember how you were introduced to sports as a kid? For me, it was watching the Saturday evening soccer broadcast with my grandpa, then going out into the backyard and pretending to be one of the players I just saw on TV, and eventually joining a soccer team.  

Today, we experience sports differently. The generational hand-me-down of the love for the sport still exists, but there is so much more to it. And much of it is determined by the increasing capabilities of technology, so I want to share some of what may soon be the “new normal”. 

Technology Raises the Level of Sports

First, let’s acknowledge that technology plays a key role in raising the level of the sport itself. Athletes and coaches benefit from sensors in the equipment ranging from smart socks for runners to smart helmets to make football safer. These sensors transmit a constant stream of data, allowing for real-time feedback and long-term assessments. 

Video capture and analysis of workouts and competitive performances used to require a camera team and staff of experts. Now it has come to the fingertips of any athlete, coach, or parent by using mobile devices as cameras and smart apps to automatically analyze the video and provide recommendations and even tutorials. Check out for examples spanning golf, tennis, and other sports. 

Apps using Augmented Reality, like Dribble Up, allow any athlete to turn drills into a video game and improve their skills while having fun. What a great option for our kids during COVID-19 imposed restrictions on team sports and real-life practices.  

Advanced Analytics Enhance Performance and Evaluation

Advanced analytics have entered sports at least since the days of Moneyball. Now AI has taken things to another level, allowing coaches and teams to analyze the unique characteristics of potential recruits based on an abundance of data to find the perfect match with the current team. Every action of every player during a game can be dissected and used for coaching. Game day preparation would be unthinkable without detailed reports on the opponents’ tendencies and strengths, all powered by hyper-detailed reports and video analysis. 

And of course, we cannot forget about referees. From instant replay to hawk eye technology used in tennis and other sports, win or lose is coming down more and more to the ability of technology to facilitate a better decision than that informed by the human eye and a lifetime of experience.

Technology Affects Sports Fan Experiences

Let’s shift to the fan experience. The entertainment aspect of sports is where all the money is. We love to watch sports and that has turned it into a multi-billion-dollar industry, fueled by sponsors and advertisers. Here are some examples of how technology will be changing the way we experience the game. 

At AT&T Stadium in Dallas, the first 5 G-enabled stadium in the NFL, fans could watch giant animations appear on the field by watching through their phones. These Augmented Reality experiences brought a whole different level of fun and excitement to fans, blurring the lines of reality and video games (check it out at 

For those of us watching at home, we may soon have options to watch the game from many angles with additional information provided in real-time. A great example is, powered by Amazon Web Services. Will we even remember what it was like watching “just the game”?  

And in the era of “fan-less” games during COVID-19, we may soon be able to rejoin our heroes via virtual reality headsets, choosing where we want to sit in the stadium (and changing that seat as often as we want), maybe even cheering them on through individualized loudspeakers  installed in the rafters. All that is missing now is Uber delivered Garlic Fries and Cracker Jack right to my door.

Redefining Sports with Technology

The final aspect I want to touch on is the very definition of what sport is. The category of e-Sports is growing rapidly, and it basically consists of people playing video games while others are watching. The video game could be sports-themed like Madden NFL, but it could also be Call of Duty. The thrill of e-sports is that as a fan, I can watch the game from the perspective of the player. With the amazing quality of graphics, it is like being in an action movie based on my favorite video game. 

When I ask my kids why they like to watch instead of playing themselves, they say that they are learning so much more about the game and that the players are making it fun through their commentary while they are playing. Plus, you don’t get frustrated by not being really good at it. I guess that is why most of us prefer watching football rather than playing it ourselves, so it is not all that different.

During the NASCAR void, Fox Sports tapped iRacing to have Dale Earnhardt Jr. and other racing greats compete in a video racing game broadcast rather than in real cars. NBA players were going up against each other in similar NBA video duels while keeping a truly safe distance from each other. These e-sporting events will compete with real sports broadcasts for fan attention and are already becoming an economic force to be reckoned with.  

I envision a Sunday afternoon in a future September when I will face a new set of challenges: Should I try to get tickets, watch the game on TV at home, or watch the game via virtual reality? What enhanced data streams and graphics should I opt for to improve my viewing experience? And how do I convince the kids to cheer along with me instead of watching a live stream of maddog29 trying to break the high score on Assassins Creed? Maybe it's time to grab the kids and the old pigskin and go into the backyard instead. Welcome to the future of sports!


Contact us today to start your journey into the future.

If you are a company or organization that is looking for help with strategically positioning yourself, Advancing Digital can provide you with the tools and resources you need to succeed.

Privacy Policy