Sports Geekery

Following Sports with Mobile Apps, Computers, & Gadgets

NFL Looks to Add WiFi to Every Stadium

Last week during the NFL’s spring meetings, Roger Goodell mentioned that the NFL is planning to roll out WiFi in all 32 stadiums in the foreseeable feature. This is very welcome news to fans as most who have attended games recently with mobile devices have discovered cell service in NFL stadiums is generally pretty awful.

The WiFi initiative is part of the NFL’s plan to add more value to the stadium experience to combat the “at-home” experience that has been bolstered in recent years by the quality of larger high definition TVs.

“We believe that it is important to get technology into our stadiums,” Goodell said. “We have made the point repeatedly that the experience at home is outstanding, and we have to compete with that in some fashion by making sure that we create the same kind of environment in our stadiums and create the same kind of technology.”

There are NFL venues that already have WiFi in select areas. There are even some NFL team apps, like the Pittsburgh Steelers Gameday PLUS, that have features exclusively for in-stadium use such as instant replay and access to the NFL Red Zone.

I understand that the NFL wants to add value to the in-stadium experience to combat the at-home experience. Hey, I know, I haven’t been to a game since I invested in an HDTV.  If Goodell and the NFL are truly concerned about competing with the HDTV/at-home experience, one big key is going the be cost. And I’m talking cost to the ticket holder, not the NFL & it’s owners. If the WiFi and in-stadium goodies like Red Zone and highlights are part of the experience for all who purchase a ticket, great. If they demand an extra fee for WiFi when fans enter the stadium, I don’t think that’s going to go very far in helping their cause.

Successful WiFi opens up more possibilities than just watching some highlights and looking up stats. Teams could also use the stadium network to distribute special coupons, have giveaways and contests, interactive games, and more.

While it’s not going to happen league wide by 2012, Goodell mentioned that New Orleans (host of Super Bowl 47) could be a potential pilot site.

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