Sport from the future

According to the Usbourne Book Of The Future, the EPL over the internet thing is just the start – in a few short months, we’ll be enjoying sport like so:

This vision of the future promises an air of effortless sophistication, characterised by a robot butler serving drinks, fridge-sized headphones, just ONE remote control (preposterous) and, disturbingly, a houseguest monitoring your neighbours with a video camera.

The only thing that hasn’t changed in this scenario is sport itself – this is a 70s-style-eyebrows-and-sideburns game with disturbing-goings-on-in-the-background. No sign of goal line technology or isotonic drinks here.

So what will sport in the future be like? Popular culture dictates future sport is characterised by tight clothing  and space-age fonts (which we’re not too far off in fairness):


Future sport can also be retro, if you consider Running Man‘s relaxed atitude toward participants’ health and safety, which feels like a throw back to the have-a-go 70s:

 Could be a Stihl branding op there. 

With the rise, and then full scale takeover of modern TV programming by reality TV, the Running Man premise feels a lot less surreal and depressingly conceivable, and could easily take place weeknights at seven in the very near future.

Future football is a dystopian affair, taking place on a ship (presumably all the land and that fell into the sea years ago, and is probably Winston Peters’ fault), where former highly paid stars of the Champions League are forced to score goals for bread and survival, presided over by a clearly even-more-insane-than-usual Eric Cantona (that’s pretty insane). I’d buy a subscription to that, for sure.

Charmingly, future cricket appears remarkably similar to today, if a little more pastoral. Green grass, white clothing, wickets. No dramas. The only concessions to modernity appears to be the addition of a few new lines on the outfield, the use of six new balls (building on recent developments there), and players being confined to a box during play.


For now, the sport that seems like its been beamed-in from the future is arguably the All! New! America’s Cup.

 Oracle get fully extreme to starboard or something.

Once, the Cup had a charmingly shambolic vibe of sunburn, rum and mad scientists in back sheds devising super-kebab-ed keels or turbo bowsprits that would crush those dastardly Americans in their own back ocean. But Russell Coutts’ America’s Cup seems more X-Games than Newport, more Tron than Sailing Away. It’s a Simpsons-esque  attempt to modernise itself, and not one that’s captured the public’s imagination, beyond mouthing ‘fuck that’ while watching it on the sports news.

One possible path for future sport is where new, grassroots sports spring up, in a move away from the globalised path we’re on, like in Baseketball:

A possible Kiwi version of this would be BBQ-Melee, where contestants arm themselves with gas bottles and tongs, and chase each other through suburban backyards. The player with the most garages at the end of 14 days is declared the winner. It would be compelling viewing, as long as a passing game doesn’t requisition your satellite dish for a weapon.

But more likely, future sport is going to be about robots, whether it’s camel racing:



 “The name’s Iron Mike.”


 This robot will not only out-surf you, but schmooze more girls at the beach than you.

…or ice hockey.


As this study shows, robots can already kick Rory McIlroy’s arse at golf, and probably chess too.

In any event, non-carbon based players could be a real game changer. Any robot All Blacks will have the mongrel calibrated to 11, be able to detect when they are off camera and commit atrocities on Australian robots at those precise times, and can be programmed not to go to Japan. says we should welcome our new robot overlords. Any future that has Alien taking on Predator at Swingball like a suburban idyll is one this website wants to live in.


Author: Richard Irvine

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