At the 2014 World Cup, soccer teams were just starting to make use of analytics, social media was only beginning to embrace sports streaming, and there was no such thing as a virtual referee on the pitch. Four years later, at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, these technologies and new ones will be on display as technological innovation continues to shape the way fans consume content, athletes train, and referees make calls.
The World Cup in Brazil was full of new equipment materials, big data, early iterations of wearable devices (in a pre-Apple Watch era), and goal line technology. Fans were posting on social media at unprecedented rates using free WiFi, and Twitter was dabbling in sports broadcasting with nightly analyses and highlights of goals. There was even a brain wave-powered exoskeleton, which debuted during the opening ceremony when a paralyzed teenager kicked a soccer ball.