Sports Tech Illustrates Ongoing Touchless Transformation

From yesterday’s Axios’ Sports email we learned about the acceleration of technology in two areas of sports.

We don’t usually cover sports on Localogy Insider. Not that it wouldn’t be fun. However, what drew our attention today was a note about how technology transformation will be accelerated in two areas.

Robot Judges

For the upcoming U.S. Open tennis championship, presuming it is still played, robots will replace the line judges. According to the New York Times, something called Hawk-Eye Live will take the place of human line judges. This technology isn’t new to the sport. The robots have been used in the past to settle call challenges. Now the robot will have the first and last say on all line calls. 

It’s anyone’s guess how much longer the sport would have held onto the tradition of using human line judges. We doubt that in 2021, even assuming life goes back to normal, that we’ll see the human judges return. Just more evidence of COVID-19 accelerating the use and adoption of technology that’s existed for some time now. 

Getting Clear

In the second case, we learned how existing technology will radically change the ticket experience. According to the Wall Street Journal, teams and leagues are testing facial recognition as means of admitting fans (assuming fans can even attend an event) into stadiums.

Those of us who travel to the local commerce events around the country and around the world are probably familiar with Clear. It’s the biometric service that enables airline passengers to skip past even the TSA Pre lines.

Next year in Los Angeles, pro soccer team LAFC will allow its fans to use the Clear app to enter the stadium. Apparently the NY Mets are testing the same system. And the NHL is using Clear to test and screen players inside of its “bubbles”. 

The way it works for fan entrance is, one camera takes fans’ temperatures and a second camera makes sure they’re wearing masks. Then fans lower their masks and the camera links their faces to their TicketMaster accounts. We’ve seen similar technology used for years in the recreational ski industry. Yet another example of the 2020 pandemic accelerating the use of technology. 

We’ll continue to bring you notes like this. After all, the theme of our upcoming Localogy 2020 event is the acceleration of technology use.

For the event we’re assembling a great list of speakers and panelists who will address the opportunities COVID-19 has opened up as businesses pivot and transition their old operating models to adjust to an often radically different business environment.

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