Some people see sport as a kind of antidote to the modern technological world. A chance to kick back and return to the 20th century – after all, running, throwing or hitting a ball with a stick is about as far removed from technology as you can get – or are they?
Dig a little deeper and you can soon see the impact that tech is having on the sports we love. To give just a couple of examples, live streaming is opening up new perspectives for viewers, while big data analytics is providing coaches with better and more granular information to help them get the best out of athletes and teams.
Yet the influence of tech goes beyond even these applications. Blockchain is an area of technology that you might assume to have nothing to do with sport whatsoever. But that assumption would be wrong.
Bigger and better data
The potential for big data usage in sport is huge. As well as applications for the coaching staff, think a moment about the hugely popular and lucrative sports betting market. When a bookie lays down odds or a fan places a bet, it comes down to a similar numbers game to the slot machines and table games here at a casino site. The difference is that with the latter, the odds, edge and probable return can be mathematically calculated.
Big data brings the possibility of similar pinpoint accuracy in sports betting, and blockchain technology offers the means to store, verify and share that data safely and efficiently. BraveLog is just one example of this kind of technology in action.
Taking engagement to the next level
Sports clubs have already cottoned on to the value of social media when it comes to engaging fans. Blockchain has the power to take this to a different level. It’s entirely possible that the biggest clubs, like the New England Patriots or Manchester United, will develop club-specific altcoins or tokens that fans can then spend on tickets, merchandise, online apps and so on.
The operational efficiencies here would be sufficient to increase profitability and fan loyalty and at the same time, drive down prices.
Cycling is a sport that has been completely undermined by one doping scandal and another. Athletics, tennis, golf and numerous other sports have also found themselves under the doping spotlight from time to time. Yet there are those who firmly believe that blockchain can provide a permanent solution and make doping controversies a thing of the past.
It is easy to see why. The need for a balance between confidentiality and transparency makes this the perfect arena for blockchain. Once data is added to a blockchain system and authenticated, it can be irreversibly added within the blockchain and protected such that altering it is practically impossible. Provided there are robust validation protocols to ensure the accuracy of the data, blockchain would provide a reliable and secure environment for medical data and test results.
Of course, human error can never be fully eliminated, but such a process would be instrumental in protecting the integrity of both the sport and the athlete.