February 14th, 2007 at 02:40pm
Recently I have been thinking about the potential Hawk-Eye, the technology used to decide contentious line calls in Tennis as well as used by Tennis and Cricket broadcasters, has in deciding difficult scoring decisions in the AFL. Hawk-Eye, with its ability to track the ball would be able to detect a player touching the ball, as its path would change, as well as follow the path of the ball in case it were to sail over the posts.
I was going to contact the AFL with these suggestions, but thought that I would contact the people responsible for Hawk-Eye, British company Hawk-Eye Innovations, first to see if they thought it would be possible. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a reply with half an hour, I was not pleased by what I read though.
We have spoken to the AFL and Channel 7. It is not something we are going to pursue at this stage.
This indicates to me that Hawk-Eye is capable of doing what I suggested, but for some stupid reason which the AFL and Channel Seven are aware of, will not be used. I can understand the AFL not wanting to take part just yet…they are always slow to adopt technology. I don’t want to see video replays introduced into decision making in AFL, and I’m glad they’ve kept that out, but ignoring the speedy, accurate Hawk-Eye astounds me. Unlike video replays it produces a result almost instantly.
As for Channel Seven, perhaps they don’t want to invest in extra gadgets for something they will only broadcast two matches of each week. Perhaps if the AFL hadn’t gone for the big bucks of the Nine/Ten/Fox consortium years ago, and still had Seven as their only broadcaster, we would be seeing innovations in broadcasting. Unfortunately the fragmented broadcasting landscape we currently have is not conducive to progress.
I suppose, at the very least, we know that when faced with a choice between money and progress, the AFL will chose money. Strange for a sport that has tried so hard to kill off the suburban nature of the game by moving all the Victorian clubs into a few grounds in an effort to make it look modern. I do have to wonder how the game will survive in the future if it continues this way, it’s a good game, but if it continues to make decisions which will do more harm than good, I can’t see the fan base expanding.