Biggest Tech Breakthroughs That Have Transformed the Sports Landscape

Technology moves at a rapid pace and alters everything in its way. This is certainly true with sports. Humanity has been playing sports for as long as we’ve enjoyed leisure time, but we’ve only had technology capable of altering it for a few decades. In that time, there have been numerous game-changing breakthroughs.

Some of these breakthroughs, such as sports betting sites, are predicated on the internet. Others are centered around brand-new innovations, like virtual reality. But all of these major breakthroughs have led to an exciting new era in sports where technology can enhance the fan experience, make the game better, and redefine leagues. For those interested in the incredible changes wrought by technology, let’s look at the major innovations of the past few decades that have changed sports forever.

Sports Betting Sites 

Betting has been popular for pretty much as long as sports have been popular. But the industry changed forever once sports betting sites came online in the 1990s. Now, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of digital sportsbooks that are serving millions of customers around the world. And whereas before, sports betting sites were somewhat of a legal gray area; they have become legal and promoted in many important regions. It isn’t uncommon to turn on a national broadcast of a major sporting event and hear the announcers discuss betting lines. The innovation of digital sports betting is the big reason why. 

Streaming Companies 

For a long period, the sports industry was dominated by cable news deals. Companies like Fox and NBC would battle for the rights to games and broadcast them to a national audience. This was the only way to watch sports. Now, the rise of streaming has created a different reality. There are now many other competitors battling it out for the rights to sporting events. Amazon Prime, AppleTV, and DAZN are just some of the many companies that have focused on allowing fans to stream live sports. Now, fans can watch live from streaming platforms rather than just their cable companies. 

Virtual Reality 

Virtual Reality has long been touted as the next breakthrough technology to change the world, and now that the Apple Vision Pro has been announced, it appears the age of VR has arrived. The immersive nature of VR can change sports in two key ways. For starters, it can change how fans watch. Rather than being kept at a distance by watching on TV, fans can feel like they are in the thick of the action by enjoying sports on a VR headset. And for athletes, this will change how they train. Watching film, analyzing opponents, and getting prepped for a game are made easier when you can be placed in the heart of the game. 

Video Assistant Referees 

Umpires and referees have something of an impossible task. Noticing the most minute details in real-time is incredibly difficult, and there is no question they do an admirable job of it. However, no one can see everything, and that is why video assistant referees have entered the mainstream. VAR is all the rage in sports like soccer and baseball, where it has become the norm. This allows refs to watch back on what happened and determine if the right call was made. It adds a layer of objectivity to what could’ve been a confusing decision. 


Turn on the typical NFL broadcast, and it won’t look how it has in previous decades. The cameras are able to get shots that seem impossible, starting behind the quarterback and moving with laser-like precision across the field. It is not that cameramen have improved dramatically; instead, the league has heavily implemented drone technology into their broadcasts. Drones can capture incredible images that hand-held cameras simply can’t. It is likely after the success that NFL broadcast teams have had with drones, that other leagues are going to research how to implement them into their broadcasting. 

Performance Analytics 

Statistics rarely lie, and the world of stats have improved with leaps and bounds as technology has gotten better. We now have statistical models capable of telling fans and franchises an array of new information about player and team performance. Not only does this help fans have a better sense of the sport, but it helps teams with development. Analytics have now become a crucial part of roster building in sports like baseball and basketball. As analytics improve, we will likely have greater insights than ever into the sports we love.