How Data, Tech, and Legal Shifts are Changing Crucial Aspects of Sports

How Data, Tech, and Legal Shifts are Changing Crucial Aspects of Sports

In the past several decades, we’ve seen sweeping technological and legal changes that have greatly impacted every aspect of everyday life. This has certainly been true in the world of sports, where the many changes have led to a sports environment that looks drastically different today than it did only a few years ago.

There have been legal changes, like the rise of America and Canada sports betting, as well as shifts in capabilities, like the implementation of data and analytics into team building. These changes have impacted several aspects of the sports world, ranging from how teams develop their players to how fans enjoy the games they love. Let’s look at several aspects of sports that tech, data, and legal changes have dramatically impacted. 

Sports Betting 

Sports betting has existed in various forms for centuries, but we are seeing the mainstreaming of it like never before. This is due to two major changes: shifting legality in Canada and the United States and the rise of digital betting. The governments in Canada and the U.S. have opened the floodgates, and now, there are dozens of popular sports betting companies that offer users dynamic features powered by incredible technology. Mobile betting, live wagering, and crypto transactions are just some of the incredible innovations the sports betting industry has seen recently. 

Free Agency 

Free agency is a defining part of the offseason in all of the major sports played in Canada and the United States. Every team goes about it very differently, but one of the biggest changes recently has been the implementation of data and analytics into most teams’ free-agent processes. Analytics have become an important new tool for organizations, as the power of computing has grown and teams are able to assign number values to player performances. Many teams now base a significant portion of their offseason decision on data, using these numbers to guide who they sign and how much they sign for. Whereas this was a fringe strategy in the past, it is mainstream now. 


Data and analytics have similarly become important when teams are selecting which player to draft. New ways of tracking performance, like Corsi percentages in hockey or exit velocities in baseball, are helping teams decide which young players to bring aboard. Another notable change is the increasing globalization of sports like baseball and basketball. Improved scouting with the aid of the internet and digital communication has allowed teams to find players from across the world, not just in their own backyard. Look no further than the NBA, where all five of the previous MVP winners have come from Europe or Africa, to see the impact of this. 


The way athletes train has shifted drastically over the past few years as technology and our understanding of the human body have evolved. Athletes are eating differently, engaging in different kinds of workouts, and focusing more on recovery than ever before because we now understand the physical toll sports take. Another addition to how athletes train is the usage of immersive virtual reality technology. This helps athletes watch film in a much more realistic way, as they can gain a first-person view that is the same as what they would have on the field. 

In-Stadium Fan Experience 

Watching sports in a stadium has long been an unchanged experience, but this is no longer the case. Sports enterprises are now implementing an array of different technologies to try and improve the in-stadium fan experience. One example is augmented reality technology, where fans can use their phones to experience additional AR sports entertainment. Another example is virtual queue technology, where fans can check into virtual lines to wait for concessions and arrive only when they are at the front of the line. The goal is to produce a more engaging and efficient stadium experience. 

At-Home Fan Experience 

The fan experience at home has changed significantly as well. Rather than watching sporting events just from cable television, many fans use streaming platforms like Amazon, AppleTV, and DAZN. Other fans prefer to watch their games using virtual reality technology, which can make it feel like you’re sitting courtside with the best seats in the house. And as we’ve mentioned, digital betting has taken over. It is now being discussed live on television as fans watch games, making it a much bigger part of the fan experience. Fans are also able to engage with other fans through social media in real time, helping them to connect with others while they watch the games they love.