How technology is revolutionising the world of sport



From in/out line calls in tennis to ‘was it over the line’ debates in football, technology has revolutionised how we watch sport. We investigate…

Tennis and football are steeped in tradition, with rules and conventions that go way back – football, as we know it, dates from the late 1800s and tennis is centuries old.  

But both these sports have led the way when it comes to bringing technology into their games. We take a look at the technological innovations changing these and other sports.

 

Making football and tennis fairer ­- Hawk-Eye

In a nutshell: End arguments about disallowed goals and tennis decisions with millimetre-accurate ball tracking technology

Hawk-Eye has been used in tennis since 2002 and its Electronic Line Calling Service is now used at over 80 tournaments across the globe.

Why? Because it ‘takes the doubt out of close line calls’ to show ‘whether a ball has bounced in or out’ says the Hawk-Eye website.

Hawk-Eye is also used in football. With Europe’s top leagues using its Goal Line Technology to make the beautiful game fairer and TV football arguments at home easier to solve.

How does it work?

Seven fast-frame cameras are placed all around a stadium, enabling the ball's movement to be tracked and allowing match officials to be notified when a goal is scored via optical signals sent to a watch. 

 

Get closer to the sport you love - Phantom Cam

In a nutshell: See your favourite players like never before with a high-speed camera that takes you closer to the action.

In the high-speed world of professional baseball, where entire games can hinge on split-second moments, fans are always eager to get closer to the action.

And now a super-fast camera has been developed to do just that, providing unprecedented views of gameplay that would be unnoticeable to the naked eye.

It's called the Phantom Cam and was used by American TV network Fox during its coverage of the World Series to bring viewers incredible levels of precision and accuracy.

With the potential to record an astonishing 5,000 frames per second, the Phantom Cam leaves other models in the dust and can even capture the fraction of a second when a ball comes into contact with the bat.

 

Live football data – Opta

In a nutshell: Live data from football and other sports delivered within seconds of the action unfolding on the pitch

As followers of all sports know, stats are important - and experts are working on the frontlines of science to improve the accuracy and relevance of this vital information.

Opta is a global data company that works with some of Europe’s top football leagues and many other sports.

So when you’re watching the football on a Sunday afternoon, and statistics about things like key passes and player positions pop up on the screen, they’re generally provided by Opta.

Anyone who follows live football on sites like BBC Football will be used to seeing tweets from OptaJoe with stats about everything from the number of clearances made last season by a certain player to the number of goals in a certain fixture dating back over the past 10 seasons.

Crucially, Opta has revolutionised football punditry and also football pub banter – giving both some actual figures and meat to flesh out or back up their arguments.

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