Tech

Cricket World Cup 2015: How Technology Is Changing Our National Summer Sport

For many people, cricket evokes idyllic scenes of the sport being played on a village green by players dressed in white, stopping for a break to grab some tea and a sandwich, but such traditional scenes betray the game’s more recent relationship with technology both on and off the pitch.

Video replays have been used to help umpires decide on run outs for some time, but many broadcast technologies like hotspot, snicko and hawk-eye are now used in matches as part of the Decision Review System (DRS).

India has been a notable opponent of DRS, but most fans, players and observers accept that technology has changed the sport for the better. For the International Cricket Council (ICC), innovations mean that more correct decisions are being made than ever before. (more…)

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NBA: Technology Is Essential For Basketball Expansion

The National Basketball Association (NBA) says technology and social media is helping the organisation spread its wings beyond North America and to recreate the arena experience for home viewers.

International expansion is a priority for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who was in London for a match between New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks at the O2, and said the sports industry had an advantage over other forms of entertainment because they’re best viewed live – making it difficult for viewers to skip adverts, and presumably turn to piracy.

However because most matches take place in the US or Canada, they are not particularly time-zone friendly to many markets, including the UK, making social engagement all the more important.

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The Premier League’s Battle Against Vine Is Doomed To Failure

In one of his more recent efforts to be perceived as a forward thinking, progressive sports administrator, FIFA President Sepp Blatter declared the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to be “the first truly mobile and social world cup” – a statement that is hard to dispute.

Twitter’s traffic records were broken, Facebook experienced a surges in popularity and mobile networks reported that live streaming, video highlights and social media use was reaching unprecedented levels.

This was partly fuelled by the sharing of video clips of goals on YouTube and Vine shortly after the ball had hit the back of the net. But despite the obvious exposure and fan engagement opportunities that such activity provides, the Premier League has pledged to crackdown on users sharing clips of its matches.

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Pixel Sport Meets Seb Coe: Technology Has Changed Sport Forever

A version of this article was originally published on TechWeekEurope. For more sports technology coverage click here.

Lord Sebastian Coe, the former chairman of the organising committee for London 2012 Olympic Games, says technology has changed sport in ways he couldn’t have imagined when competing in the 1500 metres and 800 metres in the 1970s and 80s.

Speaking during the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the current chair of the British Olympic Association (BOA), explained that IT has become an increasingly integral part of the planning process for major sporting events in order to keep up the increasing demands and expectations of athletes, officials, the media and spectators.

“Science and technology, in particular, have changed the way we train for sporting events, how we take part in them and how we experience them as spectators,” he said.

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Glasgow 2014: The Technology Behind The Commonwealth Games

A version of this article was originally published on TechWeekEurope. For more sports technology coverage click here.

The Commonwealth Games is the second-largest multi-sport tournament in the world, second only to the Olympics in scope, with the twentieth edition in Glasgow comprising some 260 medal events, 4,500 athletes and 15,000 volunteers.

The closing ceremony on Sunday brought to an end not just 11 days of superb sport, but also an extensive IT operation that has been instrumental to delivering what Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) CEO Mike Hooper called “the standout games in the history of the movement.”

While Usain Bolt, Greg Rutherford and Tom Daley were taking the plaudits in the competition venues, a more modest technology team, based at the Technology Operations Centre (TOC) at games headquarters in the city centre, ensured everything ran smoothly.

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Glasgow 2014: How Tech Helped Elinor Barker Win Silver And Bronze

This is an updated version of article that appeared on TechWeekEurope. For more sports technology coverage click here.

There was a time when a half-time orange and the magic sponge where the height of technological innovation in sport, but in 2014, sporting federations and teams have armies of coaches, sport scientists and nutritionists whose job is to extract every ounce of performance from their athletes.

Video and data analysis is now used in almost every part of professional sport and cycling is no exception. For Great Britain’s world champion cyclist Elinor Barker, it helps her train, understand and improve her performances and help her fight the battle against doping.

Barker, winner of the team pursuit event at the 2013 and 2014 World Championships, won silver in the 25km points race and bronze in the 10km scratch race at the Commonwealth Games and is adamant that technology has helped her in her preparation.

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Motorbikes, Tractors And VHF: How The Tour De France Is Broadcast To The World

The final kilometres of the Tour de France must be a relief to everyone involved. After three weeks of intense racing, the last few laps of the Champs Elysee in Paris are a sign that the world’s most famous cycle race is coming to an end – except for the sprinters who want to win the Tour’s most prestigious stage of course.

But it’s not just the riders who are tired, it’s the tech team which have to power the television broadcasts and build the networks that facilitate the smooth running of a race that spans more than 3,500 kilometres.

The first Tour to be televised was the 1948 edition, when the riders arrivals at the Parc des Princes Velodrome during the final stage was transmitted. These days, the entire race is shown live by 85 broadcasters covering 180 countries, thanks to a technical operation unlike any other sporting event in the world.

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Goal Line Technology, Social Media And Online Streaming Take Centre Stage At World Cup 2014

On the eve of the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina, FIFA president Sepp Blatter declared this year’s event to be “the first truly mobile and social world cup.” It’s easy to disagree with many of Blatter’s statements but not this one of them.

In fact the only grounds for debate was that this wasn’t just the most social World Cup of all time, it was almost the most technological, with innovations on and off the pitch helping referees, players and fans.

Goal-line technology made its debut, 4K and streaming made huge strides and fans were more involved than ever before thanks to unprecedented channels of communication.

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Technology Aids Wimbledon In Quest To Be The Most Prestigious Grand Slam Of All

So in the end there was no fairy-tale ending for Roger Federer at this year’s Wimbledon. The perennial crowd favourite lost an epic final in five sets to Novak Djokovic, having saved championship point in the fourth. Djokovic was as graceful in victory as Federer was in defeat, hoping that he will have one more shot at Wimbledon glory before his illustrious career – arguably the greatest ever – comes to an end.

It was a different kind of final to the one that preceded it, when, on a tension-filled day on Centre Court, Andy Murray ended Britain’s 77 year wait for a British male winner – but not before subjecting us to one last excruciating game before the famous drought was ended.

But walking around the All-England Club (AELTC) last week, it was though nothing had changed from last year. The overpriced Pimm’s and Strawberries and Cream were still served, the queues still formed in Wimbledon Park and Henman Hill, the physical manifestation of the modern British obsession with finding a  homegrown Wimbledon champion, was as busy as ever.

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Inside The FA National Football Centre At St George’s Park

St Georges Park 9

Last month, I was invited to take a look around the FA’s new national football centre at St George’s Park near Burton-upon-Trent.

I was there to hear about the technology used at the centre and to speak to the FA’s CTO Rob Ray about how technology plays such an important role in administrating the sport in England. I spent less than 24 hours at St George’s Park, but that was enough time to appreciate just how impressive a facility it is.

Set in 330 acres of Staffordshire countryside, the new £110 million centre is home to England’s 24 national teams (all age groups, men and women’s teams, and disabled teams) but is also where coaches will be instructed how to implement the FA’s future game plan to teach the next generation of footballers.

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From Wembley to Maidstone

The attention to detail is staggering. There are 11 outdoor pitches, including one that is made of the same turf as Wembley Stadium and is cut at exactly the same time as the one in London. There is also a full-sized indoor pitch made from artificial 3G turf, the same used by Maidstone United at the Gallagher Stadium. So it’s obvious that Maidstone and Wembley are the two most important surfaces in England then.

The England rugby team trained here during the Six Nations and are reportedly interested in building something similar. After visiting Pennyhill Park before their game with Ireland in February, it’s easy to see why the RFU would want something more state of the art.

The UK may not have the weather of Australia or the college sports system of the US, but it does have the financial resources to aid sporting success. The impact of National Lottery funding on Team GB’s medal count at the 2012 London Olympics was obvious, while Britain has some of the best sporting arenas in the world.

While we’ve seen unprecedented sporting success in this country over the last ten years, England’s national football team has not been able to end 47 years of hurt (and counting). St George’s Park won’t change everything overnight, but it’s clear that it is a facility to make any nation in the world jealous.