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2015 Sports Technology Innovations

February 18, 2015

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2015 may not have given us hover boards, but there have been some pretty cool innovations in sports technology. From the sidelines to the fan experience, technology has become an integral part of the game.

Game Changing Technology

The Bucs and the Ravens are the pioneers in introducing technology to sports. Initially used as a draft tool in 2011, the Bucs provided their coaches with iPads to evaluate college players. Then it evolved and the iPad replaced the playbook. The Bucs equipped the coaches and all of players with iPads. DVDs the players once used to improve their games are now being watched digitally via the iPad. The NFL still had a no-technology rule at that time, to keep the playing field level, so a paper-filled binder was still in play during games.

Other professional leagues took notice of the advantages of mobile technology. Bloomberg Sports developed an app exclusively for MLB. Pitch Review features statistics, averages and customizable video clips.

Fast forward to 2015 and every NFL coach has a tablet. Not just any tablet, the Surface tablet. Microsoft's tablet is the official tablet of the NFL, courtesy of a $400 million sponsorship. While the NBA made an exclusive $100 million deal with Samsung for tablets, headsets, and televisions.

For the past three years, NFL has utilized the xPatch to monitor injuries. This system is also being used by the NHL, and will be used by Major League Soccer starting this Spring.

The xPatch is actually part of a larger system, the X2. The xPatch records all impacts on a player during a game and then delivers the information directly to coaches and trainers, so they can quickly assess if an athlete should continue playing. An athlete’s information can be tracked over time in order to prevent long-term damage.

What Does This Mean for You?

Technology enhances the fan experience for every fan, from 4K cameras to upgrades in the data centers. Skycam, Cablecam and the new 4K cameras enable you to see and hear the real-time reactions of coaches and players. The upgraded data centers provide access to wi-fi, high-definition video boards, and conveniences such as the ease of using credit cards with vendors.

Now, imagine being able to record the performance of your favorite teams, player by player. This year, Zebra Technologies introduced the radio chip to the NFL. Placed inside player uniforms, the chip tracks their speed and movement on every play. Sensors strategically placed around the field gather the data from the chips, and then that data is sent to both the video boards and the broadcasters. The NFL intends to publish the data collected from those Zebra chips.

Sportsvision has done the same with the NHL. Chips inside the pucks can record puck location, trajectory, and speed. The ones embedded in the jerseys can track skating speed, player location, and even amount of ice time. Depending on how much data is collected, the NHL can provide these and other stats.

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