Interactive TV for Sports, and especially Cycling

bill%20gates.jpg At CES last week, I was on hand to see Bill Gates give his final keynote speech as Microsoft CEO. Before introducing guitar legend Slash to the audience, he mentioned interactive technology that would allow a TV audience to choose, per his example, a race car to follow in the Daytona 500. You could then see the that team’s pit crew and the car’s POV camera rather than just watching what the broadcasters select. I say, screw NASCAR, let’s get that technology for the Tour de France.

Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could choose to follow your favourite racer among the 180 athletes on the road? Half the technology is already there since many of the races kit the participants’ bikes out with transponders. The next step would be current speed and maybe HRM data that would be cool. You’re watching tv, use a remote to find Racer A among all the others, and then you see his place, how fast he’s going, and his position in the field. Maybe have an alternate screen with the course profile showing where Racer A is within the field of riders.

A more complex version could be a computer rendering of a 3D map with topography. If anything, something like that could finally make cross country MTB racing a viable television event.

I think baseball is popular partially because of the plethora of statistics involved. Interactive technology would certainly aid in television viewership of bike racing by letting the audience really get into that world.



3 Comments

Sounds like a great idea but I could see how other teams would use this data to their advantage. Surely if they see someone is pushing a bit hard they could get in there and push him to breaking point. I’d love to see some of this technology in the mountain biking scene as you mentioned. Be fantastic to actually follow the rider around the track. I reckon they could set up various camera’s around the track and the have a GPS type chip on each contestant, so basically all you would need to figure out is how to get the feed to sync with where the rider is on the track. This is all possible now I’m pretty sure but you would have to have quite a few camera’s located around the track and the syncronization would need to be tweaked.

I think there was a web-based system for tracking positions, etc for an American stage race last year.

There was—for the Amgen Tour of California via CSC and various sites map and track le Tour v. The sites were ok, but nothing that spectacular, and not immersive or interactive, HD TV.

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