It was just recently that a co-blogger wrote a series on patents and intellectual property related to fairplay in soccer. I went back and forth reading the blog series on fairplay technology in soccer vis-à-vis blogs by another iRunway blogger on fairplay technology in cricket. And it made me wonder what’s it about soccer that while cricket has adopted fairplay products such as those of Hawkeye, soccer is still contemplating on it.
It is common knowledge that the sports industry is able to influence the world economy, create jobs and enhance public infrastructure investment. To put it in numbers as done by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the global revenue of the sports industry as a whole – including sponsorships, gate revenues, media rights fees and merchandising – was $133 billion in 2014, rising from $114 billion in 2009. The annual global turnover is put at about $300 billion… pretty close to the pharmaceutical industry that has an annual turnover of nearly $ 400 billion.
(You may enjoy reading about the Fair Play War between Goal Control and Hawk Eye Technology)
Now soccer may be the most popular sport in Europe, where it is estimated to generate around $25 billion a year. In comparison, cricket doesn’t even come close. Its estimated revenue is around $250 million. Professional leagues generate the most revenue in any game. The Barclays Premier League in England has revenue of around $5.12 billion every year, in comparison to the oh-so-popular IPL’s (Indian Premier League), $180 million.
With the sport developing in popularity and finance, more technology is being used to make the game easier and fair. In fact, many companies have some patents with these new technologies in the game.
Puma has a patent US 8,382,619 that describes a method of producing a soccer ball. Puma claims in this patent that the resulting soccer ball will have a steady spring constant and hardness respectively as possible along the ball surface where it is hit.
Cairos Technologies AG. has a patent US 8,535,185 that speaks of a device with an acceleration sensor, a memory unit and a radio unit, which ultimately helps in providing information to players. This patent says that the device can detect whether is ball is coming from the front or not.
Now a patent like this can hold good for soccer and all other ball games. But what about refereeing? Well, the tech world has them in its ambit too. Referees are the ones who face the flak of the losing team’s supporters most of the time. The pressure to ensure fairplay is quite a pressure cooker situation for them. One wrong decision and fans can blast out, going berserk.
Tech companies such as Cairos- Adidas and GoalControl GmbH have patented technologies such as gears that act as personal assistants for referees. These gears provide crucial information such as the minute of a goal or foul play that calls for a red. These devices can be extended to communicate with linesmen as well, enhancing fairplay in soccer.
Technological innovations in soccer are on the rise, and this is still a young field to explore. This year we saw the introduction of Goal Line Technology and Vanishing Spray play fair in the Brazil World Cup. Similarly all other sports are embracing modern technology, which is a win-win for both sports and technology.
(Feature image source: https://pixabay.com/en/soccer-football-stadium-players-92194/)