Is Technology Changing Our Experience Of Sport?
Desperate to go and watch your team play but just can’t make it because you’re busy? It’s too far away? Too expensive?
Well now you may no longer need to worry because a Korean baseball team has managed to invent a way to let their fans attend matches if they can’t make it. They have created a host of “robot fans”, which they say will enhance their supporters’ experience of the sport. What is this technology and is it making an impact on the sporting world?
The Hanwha Eagles were struggling to do well in their matches as a number of their supporters could not always get to the stadium. Therefore people can control these robots live over the internet to show their support by making them cheer, chant and perform a Mexican wave. Fans can also upload their faces to the robots, though they cannot, however, leave their seats.
Matt Cutler, the editor of SportBusiness International, told the BBC that giving more fans the chance to ‘attend’ matches was really important to professional teams: “If you look at all the big clubs, you can’t just get a season ticket – you have to sit on a waiting list. There is also potential monetisation. You can charge, even if it’s a small amount, to give fans a different kind of viewpoint.”
The Hanwha Eagles have suffered more than 400 losses over the past five years, and hope that the extra support may spur them on to achieve better results. As a result of their hopeless endeavours they have received the nickname “Hanwha Chickens”.
They hope to expand this technology to other matches, teams and sports.
The technology also has the potential to develop further. When Japan was attempting to bid for the 2022 World Cup, it said that it planned to recreate live matches using holographic technology all over the world. This could mean that more stadiums of fans could be watching the same match at once.
Unfortunately, when Japan lost its bid, development on this technology stopped, though a number of experts praised Japan for its ambition, despite being sceptical about whether it could actually work.
However, even right now small technology advances are changing the way we experience sport. Mr Cutler added: “Within a short amount of time, nearly every Premier League stadium will have WiFi. Everyone’s got a phone with them, checking other things. The days have gone where people are completely engrossed in the match.”
Do you think technology has changed our experience of sport? Let us know in the comments below!