Stadiums Geared Toward Sports Fans of the Future

23 09 2009

The technological advances in the new Cowboys Stadium reflect a trend of stadium design that caters to the new-age sports fan.

The focal point of the $1.1 billion home of the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys is a 160 foot long, 72 foot high $40 million high-definition video screen.   The screen is the first of its kind because it will show the game live, granting field-side fans the luxury of seeing the game from every perspective.

Screen at Cowboys Stadium (

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says the screen makes business sense. 

“The stadium’s main competition is the comforts of home, where the seats are comfortable, the parking is easy, and the beers don’t cost $8.  As more fans get high-definition, big-screen televisions, the visual experience of watching the game at home is improving, too” said Ben Casselman in his Wall Street Journal article, Cowboys Try Big-Screen Play.

But HD screens are not the only things in the home that stadiums must compete with when trying to sell tickets.

Over the past twenty years the Internet has changed what it means to be a sports fan.  Prior to the wide-spread use of social media and sports information sites, there was a definitive barrier between players and fans.  Now, however, fans don’t just observe: they compulsively check, they play fantasy football; they read and write blogs and text and tweet.  The fan of today is an information junkie, both absorbing and creating sports news in real time.

Team owners realize that this has become a central component of the sporting world, and they are attempting to integrate it into their stadiums. 

Yankee Stadium teamed up with technology company Cisco Systems to do just that.  “The technological prowess acquired by the Yankees includes the ability to program 1,100 flat-panel, high-definition TV monitors with live game coverage, archival and highlight video, statistics, promotional messages and weather and traffic updates,” said Richard Sandomir in his New York Times article, Boldly Going Where No Stadium Has Gone Before

Cisco created StadiumVision – a program that integrates video, voice, data, and wireless services into a single network – to revolutionize the in-stadium fan experience.  They have since teamed up with several professional NFL and Major League Baseball teams –  in addition to the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees – that include the Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, and Arizona Diamondbacks, according to Sandomir.

Ticket upgrades on airport-style kiosks, concession stand menus on cell phones, interaction with athletes via Twitter and live video, fantasy updates, and fan interaction are all among the technological renovations Cisco plans to bring to their stadiums (High Tech Stadiums Point Way to Future).

While some fans argue that the new additions defile the nature of the game, many others eagerly await their chance for the true fan interactive experience, which will undoubtedly be accessible everywhere in the not too distant future.




4 responses

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