Next-generation technology will be key for future NFL growth, with an emphasis on the fan experience during games, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Speaking with CNBC at last week’s Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference, Goodell says the plans for future NFL growth has one central component: beefing up WiFi at NFL stadiums and then offering additional services to enhance that fan experience, as well as making fans at home feel like they’re at the stadium:
Goodell says technology can be crucial for getting fans into stadiums — starting with managing ticket sales — and ensuring they like the experience. Some of that technology is as simple as giving fans the same access to media as they’d have at home.
“Simply having Wi-Fi so that they can access their own devices when they come into the stadium,” is key, Goodell said. “They can use that technology to buy a jersey, to buy concessions, to find out the best way to enter into the stadium, or exit the stadium, what the traffic patterns are, what’s going on around the league.”
And for fans who can’t make it to the stadium, Goodell said the league is working on augmented reality to provide fans that experience at home.
“To see what it’s like to stand behind Tom Brady as he’s looking downfield, to be able to see what it’s like as a running back runs through the line or defender tries to defend a play,” said Goodell. “It’s going to be a new experience that I think is just another great potential for the growth of our league.”
The NFL has successfully marketing games as events, but clearly the future lies in next-generation tech. That may be more of a challenge than many believe: while newer stadiums are outfitted with plenty of access points backed by some big pipes (you can expect the new Las Vegas stadium, shown above, to be a tech showcase), there are plenty of other venues needing some TLC on the tech front.
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