Tech in Sport: Football, replays and 360° views leading as fans long for teletext

  • Fan survey study reveals 76% of fans find tech enhances their enjoyment of sport

  • Streaming live sport to mobiles plus 360°, spider and drone cameras among fans’ favourite sporting tech developments

  • Teletext topped the list for the most nostalgic sports tech

  • BT’s Innovate 21 seeking the next big tech idea in sports broadcasting

Instant replays, slow motion and the ability to rewind live TV are fans’ favourite innovations in sports broadcast, according to new research. Meanwhile, teletext and waiting for Match of the Day highlights on Saturdays make more fans nostalgic than any other aspect of sports broadcast.

Commissioned by BT Sport as it launches Innovate 21, a new competition seeking the next big tech innovation in sports broadcast, research of 2,000 sport fans across the UK examined fans views on tech innovations across the world of sport – both on and off the pitch, from developments in how sport is broadcast, to innovations on the field of play. It found 76% of fans believe tech has a positive impact on sports TV while also revealing football is the sport most fans (49%) believe is best utilising tech to enhance sports viewing.

Turning to fans’ views on recent tech innovations around sports broadcast, 360° camera views (26%) and spider/drone cameras (26%) are the most popular recent innovations, followed by live streaming sports on the go via mobile (22%) and the introduction of 4K and HDR picture quality (21%).

In terms of fans’ take on the best overall innovations on the pitch from athletes, authorities and teams, goal-line technology (32%), Hawk-Eye (27%) and photo finish imagery (26%) were deemed the best enhancements by fans. When asked for their least favourite innovations, football’s video assistant referees (VAR) system was voted for by more fans (31%) than any other tech.

Overall, the study found that 74% of fans believe technology has made sport more accessible to a larger audience, with people regularly watching sport on a PC or laptop (53%) or soaking up the action on their smart phones (41%). More than six in 10 also believe tech innovation has made watching sport a more sociable experience.

BT Sport has launched Innovate 21 to find exciting new ideas, technology and services spanning the entire sports broadcast chain from entrepreneurs, creatives and start-ups. The competition will provide one lucky winner with the opportunity to work with BT to develop their idea for future use. BT Sport has a rich history of providing entrepreneurs with opportunities to be at the heart of innovation. Since winning the 2018 BT Infinity Lab competition, Sceenic has worked with BT Sport to support last year’s launch of Watch Together on the BT Sport App. More details on how to enter are available at http://www.bt.com/innovate21.

Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer, BT Sport, said: “There have been many impressive tech developments in the worlds of sport and broadcasting, and this research has highlighted the importance of tech for sports viewers. Sport and sports broadcasting do not stand still though, and we are committed to remaining at the forefront of innovation. This is why we’ve launched Innovate 21 to create the opportunity for someone to make a game changing mark on the world of sport broadcasting.”


  1. Spider/drone cameras (26%)

  2. 360° viewer-controlled cameras (26%)

  3. Live streaming sport to mobiles (22%)

  4. 4K / HDR picture quality (21%)

  5. Post-match video analysis (20%)


  1. Instant replays (33%)

  2. Rewinding live TV (32%)

  3. Slow motion replays (31%)

  4. On-screen time/score graphics (16%)

  5. Spider/drone cameras /// 4K pictures /// 360° cameras /// (14%)


  1. Goal-line technology (32%)

  2. Hawk-Eye (27%)

  3. Photo finish technology (26%)

  4. Prosthetic devices for disabled athletes (24%)

  5. Under soil heating (23%)


  1. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) (31%)

  2. eSports – competitive video gaming (16%)

  3. Fantasy football apps (14%)

  4. Cavity backs – used in golf to help make misfired shots more forgiving (10%)

  5. Voice activated assistants (10%)

(*proportion of those surveyed who selected the innovation as best recent sports broadcast innovation)

(**proportion of those surveyed who selected the innovation as best/worst)

BT has been at the heart of sports broadcasting innovation over recent years:

  • Last October, BT Sport and EE teamed up to launched Matchday Experience on the BT Sport App, offering fans the most immersive sports viewing experience anywhere in the UK, powered by EE’s number one 5G network. Features include Watch Together - the only service in the UK allowing fans to watch, see and chat with three other friends, alongside any BT Sport broadcast, thanks to a split-screen interface.

  • BT Sport was the first broadcaster to show live content in 4K and UHD in 2015 and the first to adopt Dolby Atmos in 2016. BT Sport has also embraced social media, being the first to show the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League finals on YouTube and showing content such as BT Sport Score live for free on Twitter and Facebook.

  • In 2019, BT Sport collaborated with BT’s Media & Broadcast arm to broadcast the world’s first live 8K test broadcast, into the IBC exhibition in Amsterdam.

  • In 2018 BT Sport and EE successfully carried out the world’s first live broadcast over 5G using remote production, delivering a two-way transmission from Wembley Stadium to London’s ExCeL exhibition centre.




Notes to editors

The research was conducted by One Poll.com between the dates of 28th April to 5th May 2021 with 2,000 UK adults who watch sport on TV or attend matches / events.


About BT Sport

Launched in 2013, BT Sport broadcasts in the UK and Republic of Ireland. BT Sport offers five linear TV channels BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport 3, BT Sport ESPN, BT Sport 4K UHD, six interactive BT Sport Extra channels and is available on BT TV, Sky, Virgin and Talk Talk. BT Sport is also available online and via the App on mobile and large screen devices and operates pay per view channel, BT Sport Box Office.

BT Sport has a track record of innovation, operating from one of industry’s most sophisticated sports TV studios, and delivering world-firsts around Virtual Reality, Dolby Atmos, 4K UHD and remote production. Its achievements have been recognized with awards from IBC, Promax, Music Week and more.

As well as the sole UK rights holder for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, BT Sport offers live sport programming including the English Premier League, boxing, UFC, WWE, Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Heineken Champions Cup and MotoGP.


About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2021, BT Group’s reported revenue was £21,331m with reported profit before taxation of £1,804m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about