Rugby Union is the No 1 sport in New Zealand and the All Blacks is the countries leading brand. We all know about the potential and talk about 2011, but what about beyond that date? By 2050 this could all be different as demography change will result in an aging population and a smaller cohort of young students entering the sport. Along with the paradox of choice scenario in which populations participate in a diversity of sports rather than concentrating on one sport, rugby in New Zealand faces a critical situation moving into the future. Looking to the future, how does New Zealand Rugby maintain its position as the sport of choice for participation, spectators and broadcast audiences and what does it mean for tourism. How do the All Blacks maintain their enviable historical winning records? Maybe, technology and science will revolutionise and enhance the game. Some of the changes that could occur in the game include:
A youth system based upon designer babies
Coaches who measure players performance using artificial intelligence aids
The use of nanotechnology with self healing properties for players injuries
Prototyping technology similar to the TV programme, the six million dollar man
The use of stem cell therapy for speeding up the recovery period of players?
A technical experience rather than a physical game
An interactive stadium for the supporter or will it be empty stadiums given the importance of HD technologies
Using the weather to bring about perfect weather and avoiding storms.
The development of cyborg style professional athletes is the field of Futurist Ray Kurzweil. Writing in his book, The Age of Spiritual Machine, Kurzweil propositions that the exponential improvement described by Moore's law will ultimately lead to a technological singularity: a period where progress in technology occurs almost instantly based upon the assumption that new type of technologies will emerge such as optical or quantum computers. By 2050, rugby won't be the No. 1 sport of New Zealand as individualism and individual sports overtake team sports because of convenience and lifestyle. In addition, as New Zealand ethnic mix becomes more global – immigrants will have no natural affinity with rugby. Soccer and basketball will become the No. 1 team sports.
So, how do we beat the weather? There is cloud seeding which induces rainfall by launching substances such as silver iodide or dry ice into the clouds to encourage condensation, thus creating a micro climate in a specific geographical location China used such a concept for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in order to avoid a big down pour.
Dr Andy Miah in his book, Genetically Modified Athletes discusses the proposition of genetic engineering to correct a genetic error and pre selection. In the far future, maybe being selected to play for the All Blacks happens in the laboratory. The University of Idaho has already used gene therapy in the cloning of racehorses.
For the truly dedicated fan, the ultimate experience will be the hotel as part of the stadium complex. The Marriott Hotel at England's Twickenham rugby ground includes six suites which overlooks the pitch. The correlation between themed hotels and sports is reinforced by authenticity and the experience of the sporting event. Therefore living, participating and feeling the rugby experience is extremely important. Dr Ian Yeoman will be talking about how New Zealand will win the Rugby World Cup in 2050 on Wednesday 21st October, 12 noon at Victoria University of Wellington, GBLT3, Government Building. For further details email Helen.Jiang@vuw.ac.nz
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Fifteen years of Revenue Management here.
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