Drone Technology in Sports

At the very highest level, elite sports matches are often won and lost in a single moment. And believe it or not, the margin between victory and defeat is growing ever finer. Because of this, coaches in all sports are exploring every possible avenue to gain an advantage over their rivals. In the world of football (that’s soccer for all you Americans out there) times are certainly changing. Technology is gradually being applied to every aspect of the game, from medical science to player-tracking wearables. Interestingly though, this summer has seen cases of technology being taken one step further, as several coaches have started using drones to get a bird’s-eye perspective on their team’s progress in pre-season.    

England’s Barclays Premier League is one of the most watched sports leagues in the world, is shown in over 200 different countries and receives a total of over $2.6 Billion annually in TV rights deals from international broadcasters. Something they probably didn’t factor in though, was drones. A London resident was fined over $2000 last week for flying his drones over Premier League football matches and posting the videos onto his youtube channel. Whilst there’s no doubting the pilot’s ability, there are probably better ways that drones can be incorporated into sports...

The first I mentioned a little earlier. A number of coaches, such as Everton FC boss Roberto Martinez, have been using the footage from drones to analyze training sessions from above. It certainly makes a lot of sense. Plenty of team sports rely on tactical formations and the exploitation of space - both of which are best viewed from high up. This isn’t the first time drones have been used in sports photography though. Last year drones were used at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, to film snowboarders as they descended the slopes. They proved to be a lot less obtrusive and generally easier to manage than an entire helicopter film crew.

Whether or not drones become involved in broadcasting live action remains to be seen, but there’s certainly a market out there for the tactical filming of training sessions, from American football to soccer and even AFL. One of the finer details preventing drones from being more widely used in this manner is that they are still relatively difficult to fly, let alone accurately film a point of interest from above. Pilots have to be wary of the drone’s position, possible obstacles and weather conditions, as well be being in control of filming the action below.

Fortunately here at Airnest we’re developing software to make piloting your drone a whole lot easier. We’re about to release an app which allows you to navigate your drone with the swipe of a finger, so soon you’ll be able to film any point of interest, from your child’s little league training session, to a survey of your house from above, with unparalleled ease.