Considering the money that’s been invested in the English Premier League over the last five years, it’s surprising that it took so long for goal-line technology to be implemented.
Some saw it as a way of removing power from referees, whilst others thought it would damage the integrity of the game, it has however turned out to be a great tool for officials.
Hawk-Eye installed goal-line technology at every Premier League ground for the start of this season and so far it’s been a great success, making a number of crucial decisions that could have swayed important matches.
Although it was a big decision for the Premier League’s officials to make, the fact that it took such a long time to get goal-line technology up and running shows that even the most prestigious sporting institutions can be fearful of innovating.
Many spectators and managers want goal line technology to be just the start of technology’s application within the game. The speed at which matches unfold makes it impossible for referees to make correct decisions all of the time. Due to this, managers, including Jose Mourinho, have requested that the Premier League looks at using video technology to aid referees with player punishment and penalty decisions. The hope is that by innovating the way referees officiate there will be less animosity towards them from crowds and more importantly, it will make the game fairer.
In terms of innovating the users viewing experience, there hasn’t been much progress either. Many were excited about the prospect of Premier League matches being available in 3D, but despite once being heralded as the next big thing in television, Sky decided to omit 3D matches from their schedule for this year’s season.
Other sports have arguably made more progress, the NHL recently streamed a hockey match on a high definition, virtual reality platform. Viewers could change their perspective of play and watch the match from a variety of different angles.
The idea is a collaborative one between cloud-graphics company Otoy and the NHL. It’s hoped that the two companies will be the catalyst for similar viewing platforms across different sports.
As we have touched on numerous times in our Sports Performance and Tech magazine, innovation, especially in regard to data platforms and wearable technology, has slowly revolutionised how people play and improve in their chosen sport.
What there hasn’t been enough of however is successful innovation around the viewing experience. The NHL’s project is promising, but as with the 3D Premier League games, there’s always a chance that it could fail.
Although easier said than done, from a fan’s perspective I hope that the world’s top sporting organisations are willing to take risks, as it’s often the biggest gambles that bring the best innovations.