When the Simon Personal Communicator was launched by IMB back in August 1994, this new handheld mobile device almost sounded like something out of Star Trek. It was by no means as the pocket-sized gadgets Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise used, yet it did spark an entirely new trend of using mobile phones for much more than just calls and conversations.
Interestingly, the internet was also becoming more commercially available at the same time. Sluggish dialup internet at home was the norm back then, along with that horrible sound when connection, while mobile devices were quickly becoming more practical in both form and function. Before too long, smartphone was the buzzword as these devices offered us a whole new realm of possibilities.
Smartphones have entirely changed the way we search for and consume information. For most of us, they have become and essential tool that we can’t leave home without. These days they are an extra layer of interaction for many of our common activities, including sports, with more ways to engage than ever before.
Engagement with sports in an instant
One of the biggest appeals of the information superhighway, first from our desktop devices and then eventually through out smartphones, the ability to access news and information instantly has become and intrinsic part of the way we enjoy sports. We no longer have to wait to read the back page of tomorrow’s newspaper or look through the teletext on TV. The latest news is now available before, during, and after every sporting event, updated by the minute.
We all know there’s an app for everything these days, which includes everything we could possibly want to match our enthusiasm for sport. There are apps to quench our thirst for all the latest sporting gossip and news, apps with live scores, apps that let us buy tickets to sporting events, apps that give us detailed maps and directions to stadiums and venues; plus apps that even recommend places to eat and drink before the game.
Perhaps one of the most important recent developments for smartphones, improved connection speeds and data allowances mean we never have to miss a second of our favourite sporting action. All the major broadcasters now stream live sporting events directly to our smartphones, which has arguably led to greater quality and competition. Even tech giants like Amazon and Facebook are getting in on the act, driven by massive consumer demand.
Backing our favourite sporting events
Something else that has grown phenomenally thanks to smartphones is the ease of mobile betting. There’s no longer any need to travel to our local bookies, and we don’t even have to sit at a computer. Whether we’re sat on a bus or train, stuck at work, jetting off on holiday, dining out, or even watching a live sporting even with our friends; the latest betting odds are always right there in our hands.
Convenience is king and smartphones have genuinely revolutionised online betting. While it goes without saying, wagering of any kind should be done responsibly, there’s no doubt that being able to quickly access up-to-the-second odds and betting news has proven hugely popular amongst sports fans. In particular, live betting in the midst of the action, as the odds rise and fall depending on how a sporting event is unfolding before our very eyes.
What’s more, people are using their smartphones to swiftly check odds and place bets on every kind of sport you can think of. Of course, Football and the Premier League tends to be the most popular in the United Kingdom, while across the pond, American football and basketball tend to lead the way, along with baseball and ice hockey. Cricket also generates a huge amount of staking interest, as do the biggest horse racing, tennis, and boxing events.
Sharing our sporting views
Smartphones have become a massive influence in the way we follow sports, and they can even influence the sports themselves. Beyond the live streams we watch or the news we read, these days we don’t have to be a respected sports journalist or commentator to share our opinion. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have enjoyed incredible growth over the last decade or so, largely thanks to their extensive propagation and usage via smartphones.
Sports fans have massively embraced their chance to have a voice, as have sporting superstars themselves, creating a whole new era of interaction and engagement. In the past, most of us would be lucky if we bumped into our favourite sporting celebrity walking down the street. Now it’s possible to engage directly with them, even if the effects can have both positive and negative outcomes, certainly when someone isn’t happy with their team or sporting icon.
Likewise, forum platforms like Reddit and others have provided sports fans with places to air their views, whether venting their criticism or being effusive with their praise, debating everything that happens in the sporting world. The overall combination of social networks and forums has brought the public at large a greater sense of participation and engagement, even contributing to how sports themselves have evolved and changed.
Sign of things to come?
If the opportunity to engage in myriad ways with our favourite sports wasn’t enough, we too can become virtual sporting stars via our smartphones. More people actually play games on smartphones these days, compared to personal computers and consoles. These include all the latest sports-themed titles, as players join international tournaments with millions of players online. Who knows, you might even be sat next to an iGaming smartphone superstar right now.