Last year I blogged on technology in football and with the upcoming season I want to revisit that topic to highlight anything new and anything we should be watching for this year. There are a lot of developments that enhance player safety and viewer enjoyment.
Do You Want Fries With That?
If you find yourself in the new Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco, host of Super Bowl 50 in February, an app will let you purchase tickets and parking, watch instant replays, and even order and pay for food and have it delivered to your seat. Other stadiums are also equipped to provide the ultimate fan experience through wireless connections and exclusive stadium apps. Be aware that the 49ers are collecting data through the app in order to provide a better fan experience in the future.
There are two new devices that help promote player fitness and peak performance. The Catapult GPS tracker is worn under a uniform and monitors speed, movement, change in direction, and total effort during an on-field workout. The devices are then docked and information downloaded so that the coaches can watch the exertion and load levels to make sure that individual players do not overexert themselves. The Basis is a fitness monitor that tracks resistance in the weight room as well as sleep patterns. The strength coach can then work with the athletes to get peak strength conditioning without risking injury.
Television is probably the biggest competitor to filling a stadium on game day. With ever higher ticket prices, fans are seeking a game day experience that cannot be rivaled at home. Stadiums are constructing ever larger video boards with the Jacksonville Jaguars currently leading the competition using a monitor that is 362 feet across. Such boards are used not only to track the score and statistics but also to post fan Tweets and close up video shots. That high ticket price might just buy you your 30 seconds of fame.
A January ESPN story highlighted Duck football equipment managers and the challenges they face overseeing 20,000 pieces of equipment. According to the article, each Oregon player receives “…seven different helmets, seven different jerseys, six different pairs of cleats and five different pairs of sneakers.” This is in addition to pants, face masks, balls, and other accessories. The Ducks employ an equipment inventory management system that is paired with Datalogic data capture technology. Bar codes are used to keep track of the inventory and make sure it is ready for each game. This behind the scenes technology enables the Ducks to shine on the field.
There is a lot of technology used on the practice field, the playing field, in the stadium, and behind the scenes. Teams are trying to keep players safe, attract enthusiastic fans, and run their operations as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.