Sport in the Time of Covid-19

It’s no secret that Covid 19 has massively disrupted every conceivable industry on the planet, and life no less. Sport, as expected, has also borne the brunt of this pandemic. Sport- such an integral part of our lives, be it as players or fans, will likely never be the same again. There can be no doubt whatsoever, that the way sport is played and the manner in which it is viewed will undergo a substantive change. On the face of it, the situation may look bleak, but if we dig a bit deeper, we will realize that there is an opportunity in the wings- to transform not only the way sport is played, but more importantly, how it is consumed. Technology can be a wonderful thing, if leveraged adequately and innovatively.

It is more or less a given that for the foreseeable future, sport will be played behind closed doors. So the first and foremost challenge is to create an experience for fans that will be as close as possible to the one they would have, had they been at the stadium themselves. One way to do that is to use the numerous advanced cameras at our disposal to broadcast the games in a manner that would simulate the viewing experience from different locations within the stadium itself. Another aspect to consider in order to enhance the viewing experience for fans, is to leverage technology to provide more content- relevant content, for them to consume. You can take this a step further by personalizing that content, which actually makes a lot of business sense as well, given the recent proliferation of OTT viewership.

Let’s take cricket for example. Imagine sitting in the comfort of your living room, and watching elegantly presented data/graphics highlighting the power and bat speed of every boundary that Rohit Sharma is smashing around the Wankhede, all in real time. This is never-before-seen technology, that is available today through Spektacom’s smart sticker for cricket. This data can now be customized for you- for instance if you want to see it every shot, or only for boundaries, and even compare the playing styles of two of your favorite batsmen! All driven by data that is easy to understand, and gets you even closer to your favorite players. There are multiple other sensor based, unobtrusive and cutting edge technologies that are primed to give the ardent fan information and statistics that were not available before, across a wide gamut of sports. You can view, engage and experience the game in ways that were science fiction-esqe a few years ago. Computer vision, IoT, Machine learning, etc. are all coming together cohesively to allow you to view and consume data like never before, and experience the thrill of being in a game without actually being physically at the stadium. The next decade will redefine the paradigms around which sport is played and viewed. Covid19 may prevent us from going to a stadium to watch a match live for the next year or two, but it has also forced us to innovate, create and thereby lean more on advanced technologies that will go a long way in giving sport a new perspective- both in the areas of playing/performance as well as in viewing/consuming.

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This article was updated on October 21, 2020

Abhishek Binaykia

Abhishek Binaykia is a product and business leader with extensive experience working in Fortune 500 companies including Qualcomm & Broadcom, as well as with high tech start-ups. He has held various leadership roles in product management, business development and marketing, and has taken multiple cutting-edge products and technologies successfully to market. He is also a major sports enthusiast and has consulted for various IPL franchises in the area of digital transformation. Abhishek is currently the Chief Product Officer at Spektacom Technologies. He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and an MS in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University. You can connect with him at