Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Technology and Sport 2000-2009

On the Sports Blog at the Guardian they intertwine who did what over the past ten years with a look at how technology has redefined how we interact with live and broadcast sport events (Guardian).

It would be a mistake to think of Wetzel's new buddy from Arizona as the geek at the gate: a pauper disenfranchised by exorbitant ticket costs. This was a lesson in fan empowerment. The non-live spectator is now a kind of Willy Wonka in a paradise of instant-thrill-availability. "In 1999 the vast majority of Americans didn't know how to send or receive a text message on their cell phones," Wetzel wrote. "Now we watch TV on the thing. The biggest story of the decade wasn't what Pacquiao did but where you could watch him do it."

This is one revolution that will be televised. The old models of image and information dispersal have been demolished. For all the dramas on the field of the play technology is the real story of sport in the so-called Noughties. At Premier League football grounds now it is common to sit behind a fan who is watching Jeff Stelling in the Sky Sports Soccer Saturday studio while also observing the game on the turf below.

For some, text alerts, hot clip downloads and breaking news are now part of the package of being a supporter. Sensory overload is available with a few prods of a phone screen. In the United States sports pages fight a losing battle for immediacy against NFL and NBA clubs who broadcast their post-match press conferences straight on to their own websites. Why wait for the next day's paper when you can hear what they said, right here, right now? A newspaper man will answer: because Pravda was not the best source of insights into Kremlin politics, but no one knows how much spectators value the objectivity that an independent media bring to analysis.

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