Top Sports Technology Trends For 2017.
Wednesday 31 May 2017

Top  Sports Technology Trends For 2017.

2016 has been quite the year in sports. Going against any predictive model,As we draw near to the end of a dramatic sporting are the five key technological trends to be aware of heading into 2017.

Wearable tech diversifies

A trend that has made an impact on 2016 but will see an explosion in 2017 is the growth of wearable technology on the training ground and in the world of personal fitness. Of course, fitness tracking devices are already ubiquitous, but next year will see wearable technology diversify.

One potential new growth area is performance enhancing wearables. Halo, a US startup, has developed a pair of headphones that claim to stimulate a part of the wearer’s brain, improving performance and making the wearer more able to learn through repetition. With the wearable tech market at large set to be worth $34 billion by 2020 (according to Forbes), each of the next few years will see huge growth. 2017, though, will see the foundations laid for a more diverse range of wearable devices that will not only record performance, but enhance it.

More connected stadiums

Again, something pioneered in 2016 and set to explode in 2017 is the connected arena or smart stadium. The expectations of the sports fan have changed - no longer are those in the stands satisfied with a pint and a pie at half time, stadiums will need full connectivity and digitization to provide an experience worth the growing ticket prices.

The stadium of the future will see fans ordering food to their seats, being directed to the toilet with the shortest line, watching replays and keeping up with statistics in real-time, all through a mobile app. Data collection in these stadiums will be a focus too, as teams look to manage crowd flow and stock items more intelligently. Some European soccer teams have built new stadiums from scratch, but digital renovations can be made to existing arenas with relative ease. As the necessity for full connectivity becomes clear and fans demand a better experience, expect 2017 to be the year that a wave of digital renovation projects are made a priority.

VR and AR to see real world applications

VR and AR has been making waves primarily in gaming and home entertainment. The nascent technology is making movements into the world of sports, though, and will only become more diverse and more present in the 12 months to come. Deals between the NBA, the NFL and VR companies have already been struck, with the former working to offer fans one game a week in VR. The NFL is, similarly, set to release match highlights for VR. The technology has the capacity to bring fans closer to the game, it’s perfectly poised to take off.

Also interesting is how VR and AR could influence athlete training. Some coaching teams are using technology from companies like Beyond Sport and Strivr to virtually put their athletes into decision-making situations as part of training. With no sports organization wanting to be left behind by the competition, 2017 could be the year that VR makes a real impact on training.

Streaming to become smarter

In October 2016, news broke that some of the US and Europe’s most high-profile broadcasters had seen their viewing figures drop drastically. Having paid out record fees for the rights to stream the likes of the NBA or the NFL, broadcasters have found their viewers courted by online-only streaming services, both illegal and legal.

2017 will see these over-the-top services proliferate further, and traditional sports streaming services will have to become smarter to counter the growing threat from illegal streams and social media sites. Providers like iTunes, Vimeo On Demand and Amazon Instant Video allow customers to pay for individual pieces of content, and many are suggesting that sports streaming go down a similar route, with packages specific to a user’s preferred team, for example, set to become available. The battle for viewers will only ramp up in 2017, and traditional providers may be forced to changed their models in the face of competition.