Game Of The Future: NFL 2017


With labor peace assured for another nine years, pro football is well-positioned to continue its prosperity. One of the biggest challenges to remaining No. 1 in 2017 will be making every game for 17 weeks an event, no matter where it is being viewed.

Making the stadium experience as enriching as what fans get at home is a challenge now, and will be even more so in five years. Consider how the fans in their decked-out living rooms, watching on high-definition TVs, have access to every game through DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket and the Red Zone channel. They have all kinds of statistical info at fingertips, particularly for their fantasy teams. And they can get everything on a smart phone or tablet.

By 2017, maybe even sooner, they will enjoy all of that – and more – at the ballpark.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced this week they hired an outside company to enhance the in-stadium experience through “free Wi-Fi, a new replay system, and bolstered customer service.” Fans can take advantage of wireless access to use the team’s official mobile app, as well as the Bucs’ tablet and smartphone application that will give them special features when used at Raymond James Stadium on game day.

Fully powered Wi-Fi will be available at all stadiums “much sooner than in five years,” said Redskins general manager Bruce Allen. Stats and highlight packages from NFL Films, too.

The monstrous, crystal-clear scoreboard at Cowboys Stadium will be replicated elsewhere, providing a better variety of replays, real-time statistics and – get this – instant measurements of how much force Ray Lewis, if he is still playing at age 42, used to bring down a runner. Or how many miles per hour A.J. Green was running when he caught that bomb from Andrew Dalton.

NFL vice president of business operations Eric Grubman sees cameras in locker rooms or tunnels beneath the stadium or coaches’ facilities supplying video for the folks on hand.

“I don’t look at it as trying to match or duplicate the home experience,” said Steelers President Art Rooney.

“The idea is create an in-stadium experience that is unique and different from the home experience. It’s always going to be unique in terms of in-stadium live experience. You won’t ever equal that, with thousands of fans cheering along with you, no matter how much you turn up the sound at home.”

Turning up technology for action on the field is ahead, too. Most intriguing is possibly having a computer chip in the football that, through lasers or some other electronic wizardry, will indicate if the ball has crossed the goal line. On-field officials – replacements or otherwise – probably can’t wait for that.

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Posted by on Oct 1st, 2012 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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