Believe it or not, getting people off the couch and into the stadium for a football game can be tough these days. Even I admit that I like to flip back and forth from game to game, maybe even Red Zone, while also following along on Twitter or social media during games. But, with the rise of wired stadiums, everything is changing. Stadiums are being modernized to keep up with all of the new innovations in technology. Why? Because that’s what the fans want. Teams are finally addressing the concerns, and wired stadiums are become more prevalent and complex. I also love the competition between teams to come up with the next best thing.
Here are a few of the coolest and most important ways stadiums are becoming “wired” to keep up with the times and get fans to games:
1. The Internet- This one is simple. We can do whatever we want with the Internet. Whether it is tweeting a snarky comment while at the stadium or checking up on your fantasy football team, the Internet allows us to stay connected, and isn’t that what we all want? Not to mention, we have to be able to post our favorite photos to social media. The new Atlanta Falcons stadium is even rumored to have a huge 360-degree high definition LED Twitter feed around the stadium, shown in the photo below. How cool would that be?
In addition, a Cisco report revealed that one in three college students and young professionals view the Internet as being as important as air, water, food and shelter. Even the NFL front office is stepping in, asking its stadiums to provide free Wi-Fi access to fans by 2016.
The chart below shows how quickly data usage is increasing each year at the Super Bowl, and NFL teams are taking note.
2. In-Stadium Apps- The 49ers brand new stadium is cutting-edge. On top of incredibly fast Internet and a sweet fantasy football lounge, there’s an app at Levi’s Stadium that allows fans to stay super connected to everything going on throughout the stadium. Highlights include allowing fans to watch replays from the team’s 13-camera in-stadium broadcast, using GPS to locate the nearest craft beer or restroom, and even the ability to order food, which can be delivered right to your seat. Now that’s what I call convenient!
3. Big Screens- With big HDTVs becoming increasingly affordable, people can watch the game from their own comfy couch and have a nice picture. So what are these wired stadiums doing to compete? They are building screens that are bigger and better than anything seen before. The Jacksonville Jaguars have two, yes two, screens that are 60 feet high and 362 feet wide, one in each end zone. Before them, it was the Dallas Cowboys with the biggest screen measuring in at 72 feet high and 160 feet wide. Now it’s a constant game of trying to one-up the newest big screen.
4. Fantasy Sports Lounges- The 49ers revealed their Yahoo Fantasy Sports Lounge when Levi’s stadium opened earlier this year, and the Falcons are following in their footsteps. When their new stadium opens in 2017, it will also have a fantasy sports lounge. These serve as a spot where fans can watch the game while staying connected to what is going on around the league. The popularity of fantasy sports is increasing year after year, and fans want to be able to stay up to date with everything going on relating to their favorite players. On top of this, the Falcons are expected to debut a 100-foot sports bar and vibrating seats. Sounds pretty awesome to me!
All of these innovations support the goal of keeping fans wired and connected to all things inside and outside of the stadium. The big execs sure are thinking of it all to keep fans interested and coming back. Old stadiums that aren’t “wired” will soon be left in the dust as new, innovative stadiums are popping up each year. From Jerry World (aka AT&T Stadium) to the unfinished Falcons stadium, new technology is debuting all over the place so sports fans can get off the couch and into the bleachers (or vibrating seats) to cheer on their favorite team while staying connected to the outside world.
Be sure to check out Competitive Sports Analysis to see the innovative ways we are combining sports and technology. We love all of the things stadiums are doing to keep fans “wired,” and we are finding ways for our data to be a part of the transformation. Follow us on Twitter today!
- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager