Aug 9, 2010

NYT: "To Pack a Stadium, Provide Video Better Than TV"

Derek Dawley tweeted about this article in the New York Times about video strategies at the new Meadowlands Stadium. Some highlights:
How do you keep football fans as regular visitors to stadiums when the television coverage of every play is so good?

For the Giants and the Jets, the answer, perhaps surprisingly, is more and better video than people can get at home. This season, the New Meadowlands Stadium will offer fans free smart-phone applications that they can glance at to see video replays, updated statistics and live video from other games — and that will work only inside a stadium.

Over the next few years, stadium officials say, the applications will provide fans with statistics on the speed of players and the ball, and fantasy games that will allow them to pick players and compete against other fans.

A real-life game no longer seems to be enough.

In recent years, television coverage of the National Football League has become so rich and detailed that teams and stadiums have no choice but to respond with their own technology plays. Last spring the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, said the experience for fans in stadiums needed to be elevated to compete with television broadcasts, to keep fans engaged — and to keep them buying tickets — in a challenging economic climate.

To do that, stadium officials here have taken steps few other N.F.L. stadiums have. About $100 million has been spent on the stadium’s technology, and a former television production executive was hired to oversee the fan experience to offer more than fans can get sitting at home on their couches in front of their high-definition television sets.

...It is unclear how the smart-phone applications will change the atmosphere of games. Fans praised Cowboys Stadium, which opened in Arlington, Tex., last year, for its twin video boards that are suspended over the field and stretch nearly from one 20-yard line to the other so that fans can watch the action live both on the field and on a big screen.

The four video screens at the New Meadowlands Stadium are smaller, but officials say the stadium’s innovations go further than at Cowboys Stadium or any other in the country.

...Security officials will have special bracelets that parents can have placed on their children. In the event that a child is lost, the stadium’s video security system can immediately locate the child on a television screen.

“Teams shouldn’t have an imbalance in the television experience and the stadium experience,” said Vince Gennaro, who is a marketing consultant to several sports teams and teaches sports management at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education. “Once you raise the bar on one, you have to raise the bar on the other. I think it’s really important now that high definition and DirecTV have innovated, that teams compete essentially with themselves and bring that experience to the seat.”

Read the entire article...

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