Nowadays, sport is more science than art. Where athletes of the past relied on raw talent and intuition, today they rely on out-thinking their opponents. Today, top athletes aren't physical phenomenons born with a gift; they're ruthless tacticians who approach their respective sports like a game of chess.
Mobile, data and analytics have brought on this change. They've changed the way athletes, coaches, support staff and even fans approach the game. And perhaps the main agent of change has been mobile. Or more specifically, tablets.
Mobile has changed the way athletes win
Top athletes of old were wild cards. They were superstitious. They had their own abrasive stroke of genius when it came to their respective sports – they relied on intuition, experience and raw athleticism.
Some of that's definitely still true today – athletes still need all of the above – but the scales have shifted. The top athletes of today are brains, not just brawn. They use statistics and left-brained analysis to pick apart their opponents' – and their own – strategies.
Tablets are one of the reasons for this change. Tools that let players approach their sports from a more scientific viewpoint – i.e. tools that let them view plays in slow motion, or get statistical breakdowns of their opponents' weaknesses – have been around for years. But tablets have made them accessible.
Now, players don't need a statistician to tell them where their opponents are statistically weakest. They have mobile apps that do the number crunching for them, and then present the data in an interactive, easy to understand format.
This has changed the way athletes win. There's no room for deception – their opponents know all of the tricks they have up their sleeves, and even what conditions they're most likely to use them in. Now, it's the smartest players – the players who know how to use the data in front of them – who come out on top.
Tablets help low-budget teams give players world-class support
Low budget teams – think high schools and amateur teams – struggle to support their athletes. They have very limited budgets, so they typically struggle to provide decent support such as focused physical therapy and rehabilitation.
But now, apps like C3 Logix – which helps users detect concussions in athletes – are giving them a helping hand. Sometimes when athletes receive a blow to the head, they try to hide any possible outward signs of concussion. The reasoning is perfectly logical – they want to carry on playing, and if their concussion is caught, they're likely to be out of action for a while.
Teams with higher budgets are good at catching these things. They have enough dedicated trainers and physical therapists to pick up on the subtle symptoms being shown by players over a given period of time. Smaller teams don't have that privilege. But C3 Logix helps even the lone coach monitor his/her players over a given time period after receiving a head injury, so that any signs – no matter how well hidden – are caught and the appropriate action can be taken.
Sports fans of today: smarter, with shorter attention spans
It's not just athletes who're getting smarter. Tablets have given sports fans all over the world easy access to huge amounts of data. F1 fans, for example, can use iPad apps to monitor driver tyre temperatures and track weather conditions while they're watching the race.
Access to all of this data has upped the sophistication level of the average sports fan, and it's also made them impatient. Fans have gotten used to having things on demand. They can watch their favourite sport on the go, wherever they are in the world, thanks to tablets.
And so it's hard to hold their attention for long. Whereas sports fans of the past would clear out a Saturday afternoon to watch the game of the TV, sport fans of the present watch the game whenever they feel like it. And in between plays, they skim hashtags on Twitter to join in the conversation. They've become erratic by nature.
This effect can be seen in the sports betting in industry. More and more bets are now being placed online, primarily through sports betting apps. Volumes have increased, but people are betting smaller and smaller amounts. Rather than placing one big bet at the start of the day, fans are making smaller, more erratic bets as the day goes by – sometimes as part of a last-minute wager with their friends.
Tablets have, to a certain extent, levelled the playing field for smaller teams. And they're giving everyone involved in sport easily digestible access to large amounts of data. Going forward, it'll be exciting to see where the next big innovations come from.
Learn more about how Mobility as a Service (MaaS) from Certus can help you deploy tablet apps for your enterprise.