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Is nothing sacred anymore? We don’t need to be told that technology is disrupting and mutating practically all aspects of everyday life. However, according to researchers, one that we hold most dear is feeling the biggest impact. Sport is among the most disrupted industries of them all. In many cases, even the traditionalists agree that the changes are for the better. In others, though, the jury is still out over whether it’s more a case or disruption for disruption’s sake. Let’s take a look at what is what.

Live betting and swinging odds

You don’t have to be a hardened gambler to enjoy placing a wager. In fact, for many, having a dollar or two on the outcome is all part of the gameday fun. Since legislative changes made sports betting more accessible, tech innovation has been rife in this thriving sector. One of the biggest examples of this is the facility to place live bets on soccer matches, a phenomenon that is gradually creeping into other sports. The concept is a simple but dramatic one. Sports fans can continue placing bets once the game is underway, and the odds will adjust accordingly. Soccer is perfect for this sort of betting, as changes to the scoreline are infrequent, but have a profound effect, making it easier to adjust the odds.

Robot referees

While there are no real arguments against live betting as a positive development, the question of tech when it comes to on-field decisions is a more contentious one. Line decisions in tennis, baseball or soccer are fine as far as they go. However, as tech has advanced, more and more on-field decisions are subject to appeal, analysis and potentially being overturned. Advocates say anything that ensures the right decision is a good thing. Others feel that it disrupts the flow of play, and even more importantly undermines the human factor, and the basic tenet that, right or wrong, the umpire or referee’s decision is law.

Communication

When sports stars first started to be mic’d up on the field of play, it was seen as a novelty and a hugely entertaining one, at that. However, with top sports stars being constantly coached and advised as they go about their job, you are forced to wonder whether we are losing something. From the football field to the race track, the real legends in any sport have traditionally been those who can read a situation and think quickly, as well as having the physical attributes to throw the ball or drive the car. Would today’s top performers still be at the pinnacle of their sports without that constant voice in their ear?

eSport

The biggest disruptor could be yet to come, however. We have already seen eSport take its first tentative steps towards operating in the same sector as real sports, with games like FIFA and NBA2K. Earlier this year, the final stages of the ePremier League were televised on the UK’s leading sports channel. Could the virtual version of our favorite sports supersede the real thing in time? Given eSport’s monumental rise, it would be foolhardy to rule anything out.  

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