Who’s on First?: High-Tech Sports Communication

Group texting, Facebook messaging, and mass emailing has led to mass confusion for coaches, parents, and players. Coordinating a game, practice, or potluck requires communication with potentially unresponsive administrators, volunteers, and families.

The future of sports communication can be seen in one of the leading sports research facilities, an extension of the Nike Sports Research Lab (NSRL) located in the athletic training center Michael Johnson Performance (MJP).

sports league management
Sensors strapped to athletes at the Nike Sports Research Lab measure a variety of motions and speeds, such as how a linebacker’s initial step may differ from a cornerback’s will change the cleat pattern on their respective shoes. Credit: Popular Mechanics

MJP is one of the leaders in sports communication, planning to use Mitel’s cloud-based MiTeam for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Team collaboration is achieved through real-time communication on mobile or desktop devices.

The advanced technology MJP uses today has been a big change from previous techniques, which were “very old-school”, according to Lance Walker, MJP ‘s executive vice president and global director of performance. They used text, Facebook, WhatsApp, and “all sorts of video conferencing tools and techniques.”

Like many sports associations, MJP struggled most with centralizing and properly distributing information in real time. Several companies, like SquadFusion, provide the technological framework for contact between administrators, coaches, volunteers, parents, and players.

The future of sports communication lies in immediacy, a trend set by athletic training facilities that will trickle down to youth and amateur sports.