QR + sports = future

Chase Beyer, Columnist

What is the future of technology in sports? Is it driverless cars, NFTs or wireless technology? No, it’s not any of those, it’s actually QR Codes. QR codes are already taking over, in places some may not expect. 

QR codes can be found on packaging of food items to pull up a digital version of the nutrition facts and ingredients, along with QR codes being placed at every table in some restaurants to pull up digital versions of the menu and reduce the use of physical menus altogether. 

QR technology is also being introduced into the sports world. I think the variety of new changes we have seen with QR codes is very exciting and will live up to the hype.  

However, I did not expect to see QR codes starting to make waves in the sports world. According to Sports Illustrated, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has officially made the first waves of introducing QR technology to football. During UCF’s spring season this year, the player’s numbers were replaced with QR codes. 

The QR codes on the player’s jerseys when scanned will pull up the player’s profile on the university’s athletic website, where other information can be found, including social media links, contact information, scouting profiles, related stories and personal brand content with the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) rule change in recent years. 

This change from the traditional number system to the QR code is only temporary. As of right now, this change is just for the spring season. However, this new QR code system changes the game for the entertainment side of sports. 

With this new feature, it allows the viewers to have everything they need to know about an athlete at the access of their fingertips by simply scanning the jersey when it’s shown on camera. 

However, it is not all positive. As great as this change is for the technology aspect of sports, it does take away from the viewer’s experience by not being able to differentiate some players between others due to not having large numbers to identify them on the field.

UCF still has the nameplate on the back of the player’s jersey, so people tuning in from home might be able to tell who is who, but the viewers at the game may not be able to tell like they used to which would take away from the in-person experience. 

UCF is still implementing the QR technology without completely throwing out the traditional numbering system on sports jerseys. The QR code is only on the back of the jersey, so the front of the jersey still shows the classic look.  

Even though it may take away from the in-person experience, I think it is a great step for the start of introducing QR code technology into the world of sports. UCF is beginning to open endless possibilities for the involvement and utilization of QR technology in sports. 

The range of potential QR technology use can range from the front office and personnel, all the way down to the marketing and advertising team for fan night’s, events and team professional advertisement. 

UCF is genius for finding a way to incorporate QR codes into the world of sports and I am very excited to watch the dominos fall and see where this first step can lead to. I love how easy and simple QR codes make everything, and the possibilities of QR technology utilization are endless.