NFL still the more techy-savvy of all professional league sports
The NFL is no stranger to change via technology. In 1966, the Houston Oilers introduced the league to its first installment of artificial turf. At the time, it was praised for providing a low-maintenance solution to field management and adding more speed to the game, but some experts may argue now that it has introduced more injuries to the game, including “turf toe” and “turf burn” than speed. Technology has also impacted in-game communication and decisions with the inclusion of in-helmet radio receivers for quarterbacks and instant replay to help officials improve calls on the field. Mobile apps and HDTV have also changed the fan viewing experience, creating more competition for team owners looking to fill “high-priced” stadium seats.
Now with the start of the 2016 season underway, the NFL looks to be take on even more technological change through smart technology and more live-streaming options.
The IoT seems to be popping up everywhere, including the NFL. Over the past three years the NFL has been testing a number of different smart technologies, such as RFID, to monitor athlete performance and improve the fan experience. Most recently, RFID sensors were placed in shoulder pads as well as on helmets and footballs and tracked by radio receivers strategically installed throughout the lower and upper levels of stadiums to pick up and collect in-game data. In the upcoming season, we should see some of this data relayed to the broadcast booth to provide a more in-depth analysis of player performance as it happens.
Fans will also have more options to watch games online through several different streaming services including Sling TV, Twitter, and Playstation Vue. Twitter will prove to be the most interesting, according to CNET reporter Matt Elliott, since it will be free and it’s a rather unusual platform to stream live content, but it could be the start of something much bigger. The first of ten games to be streamed through the platform will be the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets on September 15th. According to Kurt Wagner of Recode, you can stream the game “from Twitter’s mobile app, on Twitter.com or from one of the new set-top box apps it launched Wednesday for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Xbox One. You don’t need a Twitter account to watch the game, and it will be available in every country in the world except for Canada.” Should be interesting to see how this plays out and what it could lead to in the near future for other social and streaming platforms.