NFL Encouraging Its Football Teams to Tackle Fan Experience Upgrades

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2014-01-16 Print this article Print

Extreme's WiFi analytics tools will also be used at the upcoming Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, which will be played at Giants Stadium. "This will be the first Super Bowl that we will have the ability to gauge and monitor at a high level," said McKenna-Doyle. "We will use that data for future NFL events."

The NFL brought in Extreme only as a recommended partner for WiFi analytics services, which are optional and not mandated by the league.

Crawford Del Prete, an IDC analyst who also spoke at the NFL event, said that the league's move to continue to empower mobile device-equipped fans at their games is a key step because the number of mobile devices in use continues to soar.

"Where it used to be about IT agility it's now about business agility," said Del Prete. "Information becomes the place to innovate, and to think about new services and the way people can react to new information" is huge.

Anne Gordon, senior vice president of media and communications for the Philadelphia Eagles, said that her team thinks about the fan experience in everything from WiFi throughout the stadium to giving fans a digital and social experience everywhere inside and outside the team's venue. The idea, she said, is to "greet and welcome and inform the fans wherever we meet them."

That means that the team began to look at every kind of content, from documenting the installation of new field grass on video to placing Webcams inside the player tunnels so that fans can share in the big and small events surrounding their beloved team, said Gordon.

"We raised the bar and began to share more than that our fans had not seen before," she said. "We have been able to have extremely high fan engagement because of that."

Luis R. Perez, the chief financial officer of the Detroit Lions, said his team is also looking to make similar kinds of improvements for its fans.

"The fan experience is our core product, the in-stadium experience that we provide," he said. "It's an opportunity whether we like it or not. We're going to make an impression on those people that day. If you don't value that right out of the gate, then you're not going to be able to evaluate it. We're getting much more active managing that outside of our team on the field."

So far, the WiFi analytics data from Extreme is showing the Lions some interesting trends, including that the fans are excited at games and want to share their live experiences, said Perez. "A majority of fans so far aren't consuming content we produce, but are uploading [their game photos, comments, videos and more], which we see as a very good sign," he said.



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