Posted by Anthony Mowl in ALL, EQUIPMENT, STADIUM on 09-07-11 No Comments
It was a long and miserable football-free spring and summer for me, but the season is finally here. I plan to attend a few NFL games this year, and tailgating is more than half of the experience for me. I like to arrive at the parking lots as soon as the gates open, and leave the game early to beat traffic if the game turns out to be a snooze-fest. The tailgate party makes the experience for me.
While most of my tailgating parties simply involve beer and liquor, with a side of potato salad, there is a whole lot of gear that you can bring along with you to create the ultimate tailgating experience. Satellite dishes, mobile wi-fi hot spots and flat screen TVs just scratch the surface of what people are bringing to games these days.
Dish Network just came out with a new “Tailgater Antenna” which is a compact 10-pound dish designed for tailgating. The antenna comes in at a cool $350 with an HD receiver option. They allow you to activate your antenna for as little as $7 a month during the season. And now that the Dish Network carries the MLB Network, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the fall overlap of football and baseball. If you’re not crazy about lugging along a generator to plug in all these things, you can just find a parking spot near the big-screen TVs found in many tailgating lots, or piggy back off a neighboring party.
While people have been tailgating with televisions and satellite dishes for years, there is still new, geeked-out stuff you can bring without having to put up with the chugging of a generator. Play with an RC remote-controlled beer cooler on wheels and cart around your beer with a grown-up version of a remote-controlled car. Add Brookstone’s Grill Alert Talking Remote Meat Thermometer to help you cook your burgers, and you can keep your eyes on one of several fantasy football apps on your iPad or mobile phone without burning the meat.
I’m personally wary of bringing high-end electronics to an outdoor party packed with drunk and sometimes out-of-control people. Not to mention leaving them in my car while I’m inside a stadium for several hours (both the high-end electronics and the drunk passed-out people). I doubt I’ll ever pimp out my tailgate party with satellites and televisions. But I have no problem visiting your parking space and catching the pregame shows. You bring the gas for your generator, and I’ll bring the beer for your trouble.
Posted by Seth in STADIUM on 08-27-11 No Comments
As I write, they are playing football in Minnesota. And they’re doing it under a roof.
Personally, I think folks in the Twin Cities should figure out a way to build the Vikings a new open-air stadium because there was nothing like Vikes games late in the season, in the freezing cold, at the old Metropolitan Stadium. But the fact that the Vikings are back on the field at the Metrodome is considered an accomplishment in Minnesota after the roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow last December.
They put up a new roof and inflated it over the summer. It’s made out of higher grade teflon and fiberglass than the old roof. Interestingly, they hired the same company that installed the old roof to put in the new one — Birdair Inc., of Amherst, N.Y. They built this new roof to be a little more sturdy and sit a little lower than the old one, which should make it more resistant to high wind.
And just in case you’re nostalgic you can buy a piece of the fallen teflon. Who doesn’t want that?
Posted by Anthony Mowl in ALL, MOBILE, STADIUM on 07-28-11 No Comments
The Portland Timbers soccer team just announced an app that will help their fans find their way around JELD-WEN Field. Fans will be able to find concession stands for beer, and find restrooms to release that beer back into the wild.
Thanks to Meridian, a do-it-yourself app maker, teams like the Timbers are able to quickly and easily produce GPS-enabled apps. Something like this would have been particularly useful when I went to the Indy 500 a few years ago and started walking in the wrong direction to my seat. 2 1/2 miles around the oval track left me too exhausted to enjoy all of the women around me lifting their shirts, even though that did perk me up a little bit in time for the race. At the time, apps did not exist, so I didn’t complain. But today, the Indianapolis Speedway had better get with the program and do as the Romans do.
The neat thing about Meridian’s products is that they allow digital media staff for teams and venues to easily design for the app without too much technical expertise. The flexibility allows the app to be much more than just a scaled-down version of the team’s website. The app plugs into existing content management systems as well as Meridian’s own customized CMS, which gives these guys the power to modify and produce new content on the app quickly and easily — things like what’s available for sale in concession stands, players and their stats, and RSS or Twitter feeds. Meridian has been used in museums like the Smithsonian to help people find their way around sprawling buildings and locate specific exhibits, but putting this stuff in a sports stadium sounds like a no-brainer.
I would definitely use this app to find my way around a new stadium (or racetrack), but once I’m at my seat, I really doubt I would use those apps for anything else. Like any good sports fan, I know who’s playing on the field before I arrive at the stadium, and I didn’t buy a ticket to stare at my smartphone. I would, however, use this app at home as one of my sources for information to do my homework before heading out to see a game.
Meridian apps’ ability to help teams produce more original content is going to keep them constantly busy in our “give us everything now” world. And that isn’t a terribly bad thing, considering fans are demanding more for less. As for me, I would be content if I could just find my seat quickly at the Indy 500 (sans the 5k walk), relax, and enjoy the view.
Posted by Silissa Kenney in GENERAL, INTERNET, STADIUM on 07-28-11 No Comments
Have you ever bought a ticket to a live event from a scalper and just cringed at the escalated price? Or gotten to the ticket taker only to find out you’ve got a high-priced fake in your hand? It just sucks. Well fear no more, someone is looking out for you. A lot of someones.
Dozens of recording artists, professional sports teams, industry leaders, and more than 60 venues across the United States have launched the Fans First Coalition, a nationwide, not-for-profit dedicated to protecting fans from fraudulent and unscrupulous ticket practices. Breathe a sigh of relief!
I know someone who used to work at Tower Records (you remember, those stores people used to have to go to — in person! — to buy CDs). Tower Records had a Ticketmaster counter. Whenever tickets were released to a major live event, the scalpers would come to buy. And they’d pay big “tips” to whoever was manning the counter in order to buy beyond the ticket limit Ticketmaster set for individual purchase.
Of course, this is an ancient way of doing business, but technology has opened up new ways for ticket buyers to get screwed.
In the Internet age, scalpers use software to buy large amounts of tickets online. Or, sometimes fans buy from a ticket reseller website, not knowing they are paying higher than face value. It all adds up to you paying higher prices, but the artist, or the team or the venue don’t make any more money. Seems like it’s bad for everyone.
Maybe we could all just be a little more careful about the sites we use to buy tickets. But, then again, there doesn’t seem to be any way to get around that Ticketmaster “convenience” charge. We all know the one. And there is nothing more annoying then trying to buy a ticket and finding out that the event is sold out within minutes. If that happens because scalpers are scooping up all the tickets, then maybe it will be good to have some superheroes (or singers) fighting the good fight for us little people.
Plus, the Fans First Coalition has brought together Megadeath and Kenny G on the same team. How cool is that?
Posted by Jonathan in STADIUM on 06-16-11 No Comments
Well, it looks like this sort of innocent picture at a stadium going to go the way of the music industry.
Several Apple researchers have filed a patent that will limit the use of video recorders in public spaces.
Several sites, including CNET, have reported that Apple has begun the process of controlling the intellectual property around the notion of managing infrared systems cameras use to focus on their subjects.
The idea is, public locales will be able to sense that a picture is being taken using an Infrared signal, and then monitor the quality of the copyrighted material in that area. If something of value, say a movie, image or game is nearby, the system will prohibit the device from making a recording. Slick.
Honestly, I think it sounds like a great idea. Since it can finally bring some value back to digital content.
Link to United States Patent Office
Posted by Anthony Mowl in STADIUM, Uncategorized on 06-07-11 No Comments
How many of us actually go to a game just to watch the game? If new stadium perks are any indication, few teams want us to.
Stadiums all over are coming out with new ways to enhance the experience of watching a game in person. Yankee Stadium teamed up with Cisco to “futureproof” everything and rolled out apps that let fans order hot dogs from their seats. Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City is working with Google to install 146 miles of 10-gigabyte fiber optic cables to do… who knows what yet. The Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium proposal promises to make it the most technologically advanced facility in the NFL.
With ticket costs soaring, networks providing better coverage of games, and ESPN3D expanding its offerings, teams are forced to compete with the at-home viewing experience. Free wifi networks are becoming a basic requirement, and apps are helping fans buy peanuts and Cracker Jack. Teams are cramming in as many flat-screen TVs as they can fit, even when the game is going on just a few feet away. It’s safe to say that even more people will be able to sing along, “I don’t care if I ever get back,” because they’ll be able to look up the lyrics from their seats.
As much innovation as there is, there doesn’t seem to be enough of the sort that’s going on in Philadelphia. The Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field spent this offseason going green, installing 2,500 solar panels, 80 wind turbines, and a biodiesel generator that will not only make the stadium completely energy self-sufficient, but also will reduce the electrical bill by at least 25 percent. While it doesn’t make the fan experience any better, fans do appreciate the team’s effort to minimize its impact on the environment.
While ticket prices aren’t going down, teams also are using technology to increase profits and cut down on waste. The Jets monitor sales at the Meadowlands with their Command Center system, “The Pocket,” which allows the team to have real-time information about every dollar that is spent and every beer that comes out of taps.
With so much technology going into a stadium, the fan who goes to an occasional game is going to be overwhelmed and likely won’t take advantage of everything that a stadium has to offer. There’s only one surefire way to make sure that casual fan goes home satisfied, and it doesn’t require high-speed Internet access or high-definition screens. Simply put together a good team and win games. No matter how many bells and whistles there are at a stadium, fans aren’t going to pay to watch a miserable team in person. After all, everyone has wifi and high-def at home.
Posted by John Hamlin in STADIUM, TELEVISION on 05-23-11 1 Comment
Never again will football fans set down their beers, bite their nails and pray as overweight men in black-and-white-striped uniforms waddle across the fie Come Diventare Un Maschio Dominante ld, chains in tow. Not if Norman Harty has his way.
For the last 12 years, the New Mexico man has endeavored to supplant the institution of the chain gang once and for all with — think in your best Dr. Evil voice here — a frickin’ laser.
The New Sports Technology Laser System works like any other yard-marking pole, marching down the sidelines with the ball, until someone gets a questionable first down. In that case, officials activate the system from the sidelines, which projects a green marker onto a silver screen placed behind the football. Based on that marker, the ball is spotted, the call is made and the game goes on.
The time this saves is at the center of Harty’s latest sales pitch for the NFL. He’s estimated that the NST Laser System saves 1 minute per game, which, based on the going rate for advertisements, is worth $1 million. Multiply that by about 100 games in a season, and the $6,500 to $7,000 laser-pole quickly pays for itself.
And that doesn’t even include all of the money the league could save laying off all those dudes on the chain gang. Here’s hoping the NFL adopts the laser system, uses the money to end the lockout and we actually have a 2011 football season after all.
Posted by Jonathan in STADIUM on 05-18-11 No Comments
It has got to be a cosmic joke somewhere that cloudy old Seattle is the home of a stadium that uses the power of the sun. But Geekwire is reporting that such a techno miracle is under way.
Qwest Field’s Event Center is installing a bazillion or so (3,750 to be exact) solar panels to help power the facility. And who is behind this solar largess? Of course that would be the mad elf of Seattle himself, Paul Allen. He has a company called First and Goal that installs such systems in sports facilities.
The interesting question is exactly what is the return? On this scale solar panels are a seven-figure investment at a minimum. And it will be some time before the 830,000 kw of juice they create will pay for that cost.
Still, it’s probably only a matter of time before these sorts of solar-powered sports stadiums will become standard, just like big-screen stadium displays. And that’s news for sure.
Link to the story is here.
Posted by Alex Dalenberg in INTERNET, MOBILE, STADIUM on 04-28-11 No Comments
Wi-Fi may finally be coming to a ballpark near you.
This isn’t exactly a wireless explosion, but my gut tells that we’re going to see the number of these upgrades grow exponentially as owners compete with their fans’ home entertainment systems. That means these services aren’t just offering Internet access for your tablet or smartphone, but also offer replay, real-time stats and the ability to order food right to your seats.
“What we compete with is the quality of broadcasting now, and fans get in the habit of staying at home and being in what they consider the best seat in the house right behind the pitcher… We challenge ourselves to come up with ways that still give an advantage to the person coming in person to see that game. This new digital portal is just that. They’re going to have access to information, replays, videos, stats, etc., that nobody at home can get.”
So these ballparks are trying to one-up the multi-screen experience sports fans take advantage of when they take in a game at home. It’s a challenge more than one business model is facing: how does your brick and mortar business beat the convenience of home consumption?
If I knew the answer to that one, I wouldn’t be blogging, but this Wi-Fi thing is obviously a no-brainer. You can get Wi-Fi in every coffee shop in town so why not a major entertainment venue like a baseball stadium. By all means, these teams should give fans as much bang for their buck as possible. Teams need to create a real value proposition to keep fans in the seats.
But I’m not going to say this is even going to start to cure the lagging attendance problems it’s trying to address. Maybe we’re just not fan enough anymore, but no mobile app or online portal is going to let fans bypass finding a parking spot or upgrade their nosebleed seats to a luxury box.
Especially in the case of teams like the Diamondbacks which have struggled over the last few years, I’d think putting a winner on the field is going to do a lot more to solve attendance problems than this thing called the Internet. You don’t need in-game replay or real-time stats to tell you a team is mediocre.
As for in-game beer delivery, there’s a winner if I’ve ever heard one.
Posted by Jonathan in STADIUM on 04-27-11 No Comments
Man, those Qataroids or Qatarans or Qatarish — or whatever you want to call people from Qatar — know how to have fun.
Starting on Saturday, the country will host the ninth annual World Conference on Sport and the Environment. The conference is backed by the International Olympic Commitee and the United Nations Environment Program and has the stated goal of creating good environmental standards for the sports industry.
The big story so far out of the event? The group in Qatar bidding to get the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be showing of their controversial stadium cooling system, which organizers hope will stave of the potentially life-threatening desert heat.
Personally I don’t think air conditioning a stadium is that a big a deal. But I’ve never seen a game in the Sahara either. And if it does go wrong, watching the world’s best soccer players die of heat really is not that cool.
New podcasts available every Wednesday!
Episode 73: The TSC Zombies Live!
We celebrate our final show at Hothead Studios by breaking down sports video games from E3; talkin’ through some dang sports video baseball cards and then go getting into the fallout from Derek Boogarrd’s untimely death. Finally, what we have all been waiting for: Dan on latest on with Posada’s crazy, tweeting wife. Share this [...]
Episode 72: Dan’s Cool Rugby Shirt
Blum breaks down 42 miles on a bike with no chain. Evans reports on the Oprah/Nike summit. Dan’s got a rugby johns he would like to share. And some high tech tricks to baseball scouting. (26.8 KB, 27.10 Minutes) Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 71: The NFL For President!
Dan breaks down the body blow online poker just took from regulators. Blum talks up the new book about what the NFL has to teach capitalism. Seth hates yet another video game. And finally ESPN on your iPad. (25.3 mb, 25.4 minutes) Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 70: “Are You Ready to Rumble?”
MLB TV’s online service is legitimately cool. The Masters will be a non-event online. Tiger Woods plays with crappy equipment and Blum compares betting on Wrestlemania to trading corn futures. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 69: “A Podcast Unlike Any Other”
The organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar seek to bend nature to their will with artificial clouds. Blum gloats over the NCAA Selection Committee’s epic seeding failures. Blackberry “Super” Apps underwhelm and Dan takes a crack at the new Masters video game. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 68: “Revenge of the Nerds”
Seth and Blum mix it up with MIT over sports data. Dan reviews EA’s Fight Night Champion (virtual boxing is better than the real thing). Amar’e Stoudemire’s goggles get explained and the guys tour some physical fitness web sites. All that, plus, the week in review. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 67: “Follow the Bouncing Blum”
Dan’s on the injured reserve this week, so Blum’s flying solo (with an assist from Seth the Tech Nihilist). In this episode: Seth breaks down March Madness On Demand, Blum wonders what gives with the crap-tastic apps that are dominating college athletics, a look into the NFL’s financial picture, plus the week in review at [...]
Episode 66: “It’s Hockey Night Tonight!”
It’s all hockey all the time for this week’s episode. Dan and Blum look at the cross-border battle between the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic as well as the Buffalo Sabres ownership change. Dan and Seth the Tech Nihilist reminisce about the classic NHL video games. Plus, how did a trade between the Stars and [...]
Episode 65: “Take This Job and Shove It”
Blum pitches his wild-eyed plan for NFL players to use social media to circumvent ownership. Seth the Tech-Nihilist gives his report on the new MLB.Com. Dan reviews NHL ’11 (it’s awesome) and digs into some racing tech at Daytona. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg
Episode 64: “Jets Fans are Damaged Individuals”
As Blum gloats, Dan lets the Jets know they can go straight to hell. Also, the best televisions for your Super Bowl party; Dan discovers Broadcast HD; Blum shares his illicit passion for wooden baseball bats; PLUS, the best sports e-books for your e-reader. Share this post:ShareEmailPrintStumbleUponRedditDigg