5 Ways Tech Can Ruin Live Sports
When it comes to professional sports, our phones have brought us closer to the games and players we love. Today’s technology advancements allow us to stream live games on our phones or tablets. Additionally, about 60 million fans participate in fantasy sports apps while phone-based sports betting has grown to an enormous $150 billion industry! Meanwhile, social media gives us behind-the-scenes glimpse into the everyday lives of professional athletes and gives fans a platform to voice their opinions and real time reactions to what’s happening on the field.
In many ways, phones make it much easier to follow and enjoy the sports we love. But we wanted to look at some of the ways that mobile tech can spoil professional sports.
Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me!
It’s a problem that every sports fan has dealt with at least once... There’s a big game going on right now but we’re at a wedding, caught in traffic, or stuck at work. The game is happening right now but the only way we’ll be able to watch it “live” is if we get back to the DVR ASAP. So, our day becomes a delicate balancing act of avoiding any apps, texts or notifications on our phone that could reveal the outcome of the game. We stay off social media because highlights are often instantly shared on Twitter and scores are posted to IG. We hide post notifications on sports apps so we don’t get updates. We silence group chats to avoid getting messages like, “How crazy was Curry’s buzzer beater!” or “I can’t believe we came back to win it!”
Basically, we block out our digital world until we’ve watched the whole game… Well, at least that is what we try to do, but it is nearly impossible. In one way or the other, we usually end up hearing or seeing the outcome before we even get home. Then we’re stuck with the prospect of watching a game where already know what happens or just finding the highlights on YouTube and moving on. The most unique and enthralling aspect of live sports is watching them (you guessed it) live.
The Problems with Phones at the Stadium
Phones are a problem at virtually every major sporting event around the globe. While many stadiums use tech to engage fans during a game, they often struggle to find the balance that keeps fans involved in the action. In the UK, old school fans and purists scratch their heads at the younger generation of fans who seem to watch entire games through their phone camera. Sport journalist Barry Glendenning made some very good points in an article where he asked “is digital distraction changing how we experience live sport?” The conclusion: of course it is. He observed that many fans were spending the majority of the game filming the action, taking selfies, and posting them on social media rather than engaging in and following the game.
At MLB games, fan safety is a serious issue with the increased incidents of fans being injured by foul balls. Luckily, most stadiums are extending their protective netting to protect fans, but the danger from foul balls will still be an issue if fans aren’t paying attention to the action on the field. Fans aren’t getting the most out of the experience if they’re missing important plays because they’re glued to their phone.
Benching the Distractions
For many, the best case scenario for watching sports involves being at home with a bunch of snacks, some cold beer, a 4K TV and being able to watch the game in real time. That is, hopefully there is nothing and nobody there to distract or delay us from the big game… except of course our phones. How many plays have we missed because we were looking at social media? How many times have we had to rewind and rewatch a play we missed while checking our phone? Whether we turn our phones off or ditch them in the other room, we get so much more out of a game when we aren’t distracted.
Banning the Pros
Many attribute the astronomic growth of the NBA to the fact that the players embrace social media and allow fans to get a closer look at their everyday lives. But, there was an inevitable backlash when players were checking and posting on social media during games. Of course, this would concern any coach who demands his players to focus on the game at hand. The NBA eventually banned phones on the bench and teams start fining players who broke the rules. But many players realized that their phones were distracting them from performing at their best. Players like Stephen Curry and Lebron James even implemented self-imposed social media blackouts during the playoffs so they can focus on the most important stretch of the season.
Be a Team Player
Just as fans probably don’t want their favorite players to be distracted from performing during an important game, the players’ surely want to have the full support of their fans in attendance. As fans, we have to realize that we are a real part of the game. Players are spurred on by the cheers of the fabled “twelfth man.” The atmosphere created by fans, in any sport, is largely responsible for the fact that most teams have better records in their home stadium. But when we’re browsing the internet rather than rooting for the home team, it can have a real effect on the team we’re there to support.
Enter Game Mode with Palm
The Palm office is packed with die-hard sports fans. Our office is just a couple blocks away from Oracle Park (SF Giants Stadium) and our very own Stephen Curry will be moving just down the street when the Warriors move to Chase Center this coming season. As we’ve attended quite a few games over the last year, we noticed how many people were looking at their phones rather than the games.
When we leave our big phones at home and just bring our Palms to the games, we’ve noticed a huge difference in how we interact with not only each other, but with the game itself. Palm has a feature called Life Mode, which we like to think of as “Game Mode” when we enter a stadium. “Game Mode” allows us to focus on the game and experience it with the people around us. We also found that Game Mode works just as well when we’re just plopped on the couch at home. No texts, tweets, or emails… just home runs, bad calls, great goals and buzzer beaters.
Watching live sports is just one of our favorite ways to disconnect and live in the moment. Palm is a great phone option for people who would rather watch the game than read the play-by-play on Twitter. If you don’t have a Palm yet, now is a great time to buy. Palm comes unlocked so you can use it on any major US network and we offer convenient financing through Affirm. Get yours today.