At first glance, a sport like football doesn’t seem to have changed over the years. Compare a game from the 1920s to now, and with the exception of a few league rule modifications, the biggest and most obvious changes are cosmetic. Stadiums are more impressive, jerseys are more modern and fans are adorned in team-colored paraphernalia. But the positive effects technology has had on the game are a little less obvious.
Of course, fans are the crux of the sports industry. Sports apps and websites make following favorite teams that much easier. Fans can keep up to date on stats, player rankings, injuries and competition ability. NFL Mobile from Verizon even allows viewers to watch games and stay up to date on all of the games in real time right from their smartphones.
The fantasy football world is based solely on technology as well. With access to data and behind-the-scenes video of their favorite teams and players, fans develop a strong personal connection with professional football.
On game day, technology helps fans headed to the stadium find their cars in the parking lot, store tickets and payment on their phones, or even watch a different nationally-televised game in the parking lot while tailgating.
Technology in football has also changed how teams play and train for games. Players, coaches and medical staff have equipment to better monitor potential injuries and the effects on the players. While on the road, players must monitor their eating habits and workout schedules to ensure they are physically prepared and ready to play. Apps allow them to track what they eat and when they work out. Of course, tech also keeps players and the coaching staff in touch with friends and family while on the road.
When teams arrive at that week’s stadium to play, the tech trail doesn’t stop with the buses. Stadiums have been given a techno-makeover throughout the years. Not only have network and Wi-Fi improvements been made to better accommodate the amount of cell traffic around stadiums, but they are also becoming more interactive. Tablets are used for fan interaction, near field communication (NFC) and mobile payments are becoming more popular, and of course, social media has become a primary way for game attendees to share their experiences with friends.
So whether your team wins or loses, it’s not about how they played the game, it’s about how technology in football helped them play it, perfect it and own it.