In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in introducing know-how and technology into sports – despite this being a conservative world concerned that the introduction of new powers might compromise the ethos of sportsmanship.
Like in all other spheres of life, knowledge, globalism, and the entrepreneurial spirit have made their way into the closed world of sports. The eagerness to obtain competitive advantages using technological means, coupled with the availability of sporting events in every sports fan’s home, have led both stakeholders in the sports world and broadcasting companies to internalize that the time is ripe for technological innovation in sports.
FromPulse Watches to Playing alongside Ronaldo
Sports technology (sports tech) encompasses a diverse range of categories that serve, on the one hand, to enhance athletes’ performances and to operate smart stadiums, and, on the other hand, to improve viewer experience and to significantly increase broadcasting companies’ revenues.
The field of performance enhancement, which partially interfaces with life science technologies, is one in which technology is used to enhance athletic performance, to manage and contend with injuries, and to control the quality and intensity of athletic training. There are applications that monitor heart rate as well as sophisticated systems that analyze body movement, muscle activity, and the cognitive capabilities of each athlete. These tools are specifically designed to help an athlete optimize his capabilities.
Other, no less fascinating, technologies employ virtual reality and augmented reality. These technologies are already revolutionizing the matches themselves, such as using “goal-line” technology during football games and constructing smart playing fields for training purposes that are equipped with cameras covering the entire field, thus enabling the analysis of every moment in the athletes’ plays.
Furthermore, sports tech will soon revolutionize the entire viewer experience, from projecting holograms of the world’s favorite players in a fan’s living room, to enabling viewers to virtually enter the field themselves and see what football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo sees.
Sports Tech in Israel
Although Israel is not yet a sports superpower, when it comes to sports tech, it is at the forefront of global innovation.
Israel, renowned for its technological excellence, sophisticated entrepreneurial environment, and extensive physiological knowledge – which it acquired while developing the fields of life sciences and security – constitutes fertile ground for sports tech entrepreneurs. In 2016, Intel acquired the startup Replay Technologies, which is developing multi-dimensional video technologies, and even established a new sports division around it (Intel Sport). Play Sight, which has arguably revamped tennis practices by manufacturing smart tennis courts, recently completed another financing round. RSPCT uses advanced technology to improve basketball players’ shooting skills, based on methodologies used to train military snipers and Olympic marksmen. A variety of Israeli technologies were also used during the last Olympic games held in Rio.
Although sports tech is making fewer dazzling headlines than fintech and cybertech, it is an industry under constant global growth and on the brink of significant breakthroughs. Israel, as usual, is poised at the vanguard of technological development and initiatives in the sports tech scene.