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Sports Performance & Tech, Issue 17

Where we look at how technology and rugby are working hand-in-hand

8Oct

As many of you may know, we are based in London despite reporting on innovations across the world. At the moment it is an exciting time for England’s capital city as the Rugby World Cup is currently taking place here.

For sports technology enthusiasts this has been particularly exciting as Rugby has traditionally been one of the quickest adopters of new technology and it has also brought a significant amount of technology into the limelight during the past few years.

One of the most significant has been the use of the TMO or Television Match Official. This allows referees to refer to a match official who can see a replay of an incident from multiple angles in order to help make it correctly.

This World Cup has seen a significant technology breakthrough with these too, with TMOs being able to not only view incidents from the camera angles picked up by the television companies filming it, but also additional cameras that the TMO can control, meaning that they have an even better opportunity to get their decisions right.

So with these high tech elements permeating at its highest levels, I was curious about why this has not been the case for other more established sports.

Soccer, for instance, was clamoring for goal line technology for years before it was slowly introduced, and the NFL ignored news about head injuries and the technologies that could help prevent them.

When you look at the amount of money in the sports, football players can earn £300,000 ($455,000) per week, whereas the world’s best rugby players will earn £70,000 ($106,000) per month. Is change therefore easier to push through in sports where there are fewer lucrative commercial deals?

It could also have something to do with rugby only becoming a professional game in 1995, meaning that they are more willing to embrace change.

Perhaps it is something completely different, but whatever the reason, may technology’s rise in rugby continue!

As always, if you are interested in contributing or have any feedback on the magazine, please contact me at ghill@theiegroup.com 

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