CREATING ANOMALOUS BODIES IN SPORT

Technology has paved the way for the modern sport to soar to greater heights, but is sport willing to embrace this change?

Sport is a balancing act between pushing boundaries to the maximum within the confines of the law. But on the field, court, or pool, athletes are forced to push boundaries while fighting limitations.

Sporting governing bodies are designed to regulate and uphold integrity. These regulations mean that athletes and external stakeholders have to focus on the next repetition of the same fundamental product, rather than being able to take a more open viewpoint to a challenge.

Chris Froome
British road racing cyclist, Chris Froome is one of the most decorated cyclists of his generation with four Tour de France titles.

It’s known that pro cyclists experiment with legal substances to push their physical limits without breaking the laws. From a design perspective, we have seen how F1 engineers are constantly manipulating regulations to find that extra one-hundredth of a second over the competition.

This begs the question, what if we got rid of the restrictions and removed the boundaries altogether? What if tech experts can come up with innovative ways to help athletes perform at their optimal levels and redefine the ways we understand our bodies.

Technology knows no bounds and could create an ecosystem for a new breed of athletes. Integrating data-driven designs for enhanced capabilities that improve individual performance, range of movement, pace, stamina, just to name a few. This could further be achieved by redefining the tools available from apparel, footwear, and training equipment. The more we can customise products, the more we can support athletes’ individual traits, and increase their overall performance.

Jurgen 3
Jurgen Klopp has formed a side known for its fast-paced, attacking football and high energy style of play.

English Premier League coach, Jurgen Klopp, speaks countless times about his “machine” full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. The pair is widely known for their unrelenting runs from the back to join the team when attacking. Last season Liverpool completed more sprints than any other team in the league. They are well known for their pressing game off the ball. Their ability to outwork their opponents has been their biggest weapon, almost “machine-like” and it has yielded results with the team winning the league for the first time in 30 years. What Klopp subtly notes is that in order to be the best, players have to be operating at their peak every single time, almost as flawless as a machine.

What if engineers come up with a way for athletes to play past their hydration levels? A field of non-tiring players going the full distance of a match without breaking a sweat. This would obviously require body modification to achieve.

The NBA boasts with some of the world’s most physically accomplished athletes, with the likes of Zach Lavine, Zion Williamson, and Russell Westbrook. All of these players are renowned for their sporting prowess. How much better would they be if we can modify their body limbs to produce better speed, agility, power, and handling among other traits? Technology seemingly holds the key to unlocking all of these features. It sounds far-fetched but is it really? The operations that are performed in theatres worldwide suggest that we might not be far away from this manifestation.

Westbrook
Power personified — Russell Westbrook is one of the most feared point guards in the NBA due to his robustness and explosive power.

In a profession where age plays a dynamic role in performance, athletes can increase the longevity of their careers by replacing and replenishing flailing body parts. The result of this would not only benefit athletes but fans alike. Imagine watching sporting greats such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Dale Steyn, and many others surpass the peak of an average player. Also, affording those once-in-a-generation athletes an opportunity to extend their playing career, can only add to the commercial success for leveraging brands, sponsors, and rights holders.

I’m only scratching the surface of a complex and intricate topic. People will debate what it means for the future, in terms of ethics and the purity of sport. Everything else is evolving and soon enough sport will have to confront this pending reality.

WHY THE NBA IS CLOSE TO BEING THE BENCHMARK LEAGUE

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, the other three being the MLB, NFL, and NHL. The league, now 73 years old has captivated fans not only in the United States but across the globe.

It is one of the most recognizable leagues in the world and seemingly on the upward curve which will continue for some time before it stagnates. The sheer influence of the teams and personalities make it a sought-after entertainment commodity. The league revenue for the 2017/18 season was a staggering $8.01bn, double the figure of the 2011/2012 season. Now, what makes the league so special?

Russell Westbrook

SUPERSTARS

The NBA boasts some of the best players the league has ever seen and it is partially due to the exclusivity of the sport. There is a lot of international players plying their trade in this esteemed league, take for instance the two biggest winners of the 2018/2019 season MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is from Greece. Rookie of the year was Dallas Maverick sensation Luka Doncic hailing from the land of caves Slovenia. All the best players in the world jumping under one umbrella can only have one outcome. Just imagine if all football stars the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Harry Kane all played in the same league? Pretty much what’s happening in the NBA. This coupled with the regular endorsement of A-list celebrities make it a notoriously famous league and where there’s fame there’s interest.

Kawhi Leonard

MONEY MONEY MONEY

NBA franchises are at their most profitable than they have ever been. The average franchise valuation is at $1.9 billion almost 14% up over the last three years, yes that is ridiculous considering there are 30 teams in the league. As of 30 May 2019, Juventus, the most successful club in Italy has been valued at $1.51 billion. The startling aspect of these two comparisons is that the gap will continue to widen, the growing TV audience means the NBA will be even bigger in the coming years. The NBA’s logo patch sponsorship has already made a significant impact with teams reaping the financial rewards of the sport’s popularity. The excitement and star-studded rosters are bringing new people to the game. According to Sports Retriever, there has been a significant spike in audiences between the 18-49 age group resulting in the NBA selling 95% of its entire ticket allocation with a total of 741 stadium sellouts. Football can’t even begin to challenge these numbers.

Steph Curry

SOCIAL MEDIA

Embracing the outreach of social media has become a gamechanger for sporting teams around the world. The NBA has more followers than the world’s richest league the NFL. It is easy to upload real-time footage such as pre-match training, behind the scenes and exclusive player interviews. Players are major assets and a leveraging opportunity to promote the franchise. In some odd instances’ players are contractually bound to use social media to engage with fans, somewhat odd but anything that makes the brand look good.

We’re heading into another polarising season and coming off the back of a trading frenzy, fans can be sure to witness the sport blaze to new heights on the court and on the Forbes list.

Top 10 Most Valuable Teams

  1. Dallas Cowboys – $5bn
  2. New York Yankees – $4.6bn
  3. Real Madrid – $4.2bn
  4. FC Barcelona – $4.02bn
  5. New York Knicks – $4bn
  6. Manchester United – $3.81bn
  7. New England Patriots – $3.8bn
  8. Los Angeles Lakers – $3.7bn
  9. Golden State Warriors – $3.5bn
  10. Los Angeles Dodgers – $3.3bn

Photo Credits:

https://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/nba/report-thunder-receptive-toward-trade-calls-russell-westbrook/

We Asked a FOX Sports Host Why American Networks Keep Ignoring the Toronto Raptors

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/06/golden-state-warriors-historical-greatness/