Ball Sports in Google Earth
Ball sports such as soccer, football, basketball and baseball account for the majority of the world’s most eminent sports. Their entertainment value is unparalleled. They are the sports that receive the most attention from the world’s media. And now, Google Earth is tapping into their popularity.
The main advantage Google Earth has over other media forms is its 3-D globe. It provides a natural medium for displaying information, images, data and other media about sporting events which cannot otherwise be expressed through the internet. KMLs are particularly important to Google Earth’s potential in the sporting sphere as they allow anyone to share these media with a worldwide audience.
Important international events in particular tend to be analyzed with increasing regularity. Users can easily download the desired KML and view the information it provides on the virtual globe, which provides an effective way to view the contents of the KML. For instance, a KML entitled “FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa” gives users a virtual tour of all the stadia used at this summer’s tournament, beginning in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, where the 2006 Final was held, and then flying to South Africa to tour the 8 stadiums there. The tour gives users an idea of where each stadium is located, a basic idea (using the 3D Buildings feature) of what they all look like, and a view of the stadia from different angles (VikFra 2010). There are KMLs such as this for most ball sports, including “College Basketball Tournament 2010” and “College football anyone?” which each also take users on a tour of stadia.
There are many KMLs which are designed with the purpose of getting Google Earth users involved in playing ball sports themselves. “Rugby Clubs and Teams UK”, for example, displays every public rugby club in Britain, and its strap-line “Join a local Rugby Club and Play” (www.sports-clubs.net) implies that its prime function is to promote the game of rugby throughout Britain and to get Google Earth users involved in playing sport. Although there are no KMLs like this which cover the US, www.sports-clubs.net has also created similar layers for other ball sports such as cricket, golf, tennis and bowling.
The ability to create something about a sporting activity and to share it with a potential audience of thousands of others interested in the same activity is certainly a relative novelty to the mass sports fan base. Google Earth is never going to become a means of watching sport on its own, but in combination with television and the internet has the potential to be a brilliant means of not only following sporting events, but finding out about opportunities to get involved in sport.
– Ryan Houghton-Berry
Karp, J (2010, August 15). Premier League Saturday 14th of August Round-up. totalfoot3.com. Retrieved from http://www.totalfoot3.com/premier-league-saturday-14th-of-august-round-up/.
The Associated Press (2010, December 1). Duke tops Michigan State 84-79. The Kansas City Star. Retrieved from http://www.kansascity.com/2010/12/01/2491869/duke-tops-michigan-state-84-79.html.