The NFL season officially kicks off Thursday, and things are going to get tech’d out. The NFL is among the highest-tech sports experiences in the world, whether it’s stadium tech, apps, video games or player training. Our senior tech correspondent Molly Wood helps us break it down.
Some of these stadiums are about as high-tech as the Google campus. What’s that all about?
It’s hard to get people to leave their houses and pay hundreds of dollars to go to a football game, so the NFL is trying to make it worth their while. For example, the Dallas Cowboys have a new app that gives people traffic information and maps to parking or even your actual seat. You can even complain through the app if there’s a long line at the bathroom. Levi’s Stadium in the Bay Area offers a similar app — it’ll even let you order food to your seat.
Some of it is also about entertaining people at the games. Stadiums have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth beacons that can send stats and coupons, and the Cowboys stadium has touchscreens where people can wander over and look up player bios.
What about watching the game on good old-fashioned TV?
In tonight’s game, each player is going to be wearing RFID radio transmitters in his shoulder pads that will track position on the field, speed, how quickly they accelerate and how far they run. That data will get fed into apps on something like the Xbox One or Windows 10, and people can view their stats or watch highlight clips. And broadcasters might even start using that data during the games. And of course, it’ll all be part of the fantasy football experience.
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