What Technology Is Helping Make the FIFA Women’s World Cup a Success?
The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand has helped to increase the profile of female soccer, but how has the latest technology been used to increase its reach and let more people enjoy the games?
The Use of Data
Data has become massively important in the sports world in recent years; as its used to increase performances as well as to inform fans of the performance levels of those taking part. The FIFA Football Data Ecosystem is being used as the World Cup; giving access to a vast range of numbers from the games.
The FIFA website explains how this is done, with several people in the stadium involved in collecting event data from different sources while the games take place. Optical tracking systems in each stadium used to constantly collect the positional data of players.
This data can used by analysts to calculate insights like the speed; and performance of players as well as the overall patterns in the play. With data becoming crucial to how we view soccer, a dedicated platform made available by FIFA; where coaches, the media, and other stakeholders can find out the latest numbers.
We can also see how important data has become in the sports betting world by looking at the Sportingtech website. Since they cover hundreds of thousands of live and pre-match betting odds each year; they pull together large quantities of numbers from different sports and places. This allows the sportsbooks to offer the latest odds on soccer and other sports; as well as the chance to customize their details.
The offside rule remains one of the most controversial parts of the sport; but you may recall that semi-automated offside technology used to make faster; and more accurate decisions in the men’s version of the World Cup in 2022.
Similar tech is being used in Australia and New Zealand; with officials only needing to check and validate or change the proposed decision on the screen. 12 dedicated cameras used to track the position of the ball and each player. A new addition to this system comes with the introduction of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor inside the ball that constantly sends its location to the operators.
This doesn’t completely remove the controversial aspects of the offside rule, with Australia’s Mary Fowler controversially having a goal against Canada ruled out because a team-mate was marginally offside. As reported by Fox Sports, the decision was widely criticized but the Australians scored a legitimate goal quickly afterwards to dampen the controversy.
Goal-line technology and the video assistant referee system are other ways of helping make good decisions in the most crucial moments of these games. While none of these pieces of technology have ensured that everyone welcomes every decision; at least they let us understand exactly what every one of the tough decisions has made.
Players Can Immediately access Their Data
While we tend to think of cutting-edge technology being used to help coaches and the media; it’s also giving athletes new ways of tracking and understanding their performances. In the World Cup, this is done through the FIFA Player App; which synchronizes the data with footage from the game to let the players watch their most important moments with the help of photos and footage from multiple camera angles.
This app developed with the help of professional players; to give each athlete the chance to quickly and easily check their individual data. The data tracked during the game is available to the players almost immediately after their games end; and relayed to them in an easy-to-understand format.
Better Search Functionality
One of the major concerns in the past has been a perceived lack of gender equality in sports such as soccer. This has caused Google to alter its search function, to make gender-ambitious searches on sports provide more inclusive results.
As a traditionally male-dominated sport, the search results were often skewed in the past; with Google’s algorithms seemingly assuming that anyone making general searches for soccer terms was more likely to interested in the men’s version of this sport than the women’s game.
The changes made by Google mean that the search engine now works harder to try to predict whether the user is looking for male or female soccer information. In those cases where it can’t do this effectively, the information will be displayed for both men’s and women’s soccer.
The success of women’s soccer in recent years has also led to some interesting ideas for providing more in-depth coverage of this event. For example, FIFA has partnered with TikTok to provide exclusive content and behind-the-scenes footage from Australia; and New Zealand on their FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ Hub. The social media operator pointed out that they’d have more than 3.7 billion views for #WomensFootball to date.
Finding live streams of the games is also easier than it has ever been for women’s soccer tournaments in the past. Fox has been broadcasting the tournament live, with Telemundo carrying a version in the Spanish language.
This means that fans can follow the latest action in a variety of ways, with DIRECTV; and fuboTV offering packages that include the games from this World Cup. With interest in this tournament higher than ever before; social media filled with reactions to the games and the chance to take part in the debates.
What Will the Future Bring?
It’s clear that this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 has benefited from the introduction of new technology; giving players, coaches, and supporters valuable insights into the games. While it’s unlikely that technology can ever solve issues such as; whether the most controversial goals should allowed to stand; it’s reassuring to see that it has been used in the ways we’ve looked at.
The greater equality now found on Google searches for soccer terms is perhaps the most significant change; and this is an area to keep a close eye on; to see whether technology is used to increase equality in sport in other ways.