Saturday, September 10, 2011

NFL Requiring Teams To Post Real-Time Fantasy Stats In Stadiums On Sundays For Fans

In what is certainly just a small first step to major future changes in the ways fans experience a game in person, the NFL has ordered all 32 teams to post real-time fantasy stats from across the league in their stadiums.

The NFL is attempting to enhance the live game experience for fans that may feel cut off from the rest of the NFL when attending a game.  Some stadiums, such as Denver's Mile High Field, have poor reception for wifi/smart phones in the seating areas.  I know when I went to a Broncos game last year I couldn't get reception inside the stadium and felt completely removed from that day's NFL action.  For a football junkie, this was very difficult.

The NFL is recognizing that the average NFL fan is more savvy and interested in what the rest of the league is doing, and that fantasy football drives a lot of that.   Trying to compete with many free NFL perks at home is getting difficult for the league in a down economy.  Who wants to pay a couple hundred dollars to go to a game (ticket/parking/concessions) when you can stay in your nice comfy, warm home and watch the Red Zone channel?

A sports bar with Sunday NFL ticket showing all the scheduled games is also in many ways a superior experience to being at the game.  Getting a chance to see any game that you want to with a group of friends (or friendly strangers) in a fun environment with plenty of great food and adult beverages is a tough experience to duplicate.

Attendance at NFL games has dropped 4.5% since 2007.  In contrast, tv ratings for the NFL hit a record high in 2010.  Much of that can be blamed on seat licenses, rising ticket prices, a bad economy, plus a much better viewing experience at home (such as a large screen LCD HDTV and a lazyboy chair).

Several teams are getting aggressive coming up with ideas for increasing the in-person fan experience.  Many teams now offer a smartphone app to those attending the games so that they can watch highlights and video from other games going on that day.

Expect more and more amenities to be added to stadiums to enhance the Sunday experience live.  There's too much money at stake for owners to just stand by why fans decide the home experience is better.

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