Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

High Tech Stadiums Point Way To Future, Take Fun Out Of Everything

Illustration for article titled High Tech Stadiums Point Way To Future, Take Fun Out Of Everything

At the sports stadium of tomorrow, you'll be able to order food from your seat, get on-demand video replays and relax in high-tech luxury suites. Juan Uribe will be hitting .227 as usual, however.


Actually, some of this is already taking place. At the new Yankee Stadium, kiosks in the concourse area will be available for fans to check on live traffic conditions as they leave the stadium. As you can see in the graphic here, things look pretty bleak; I wouldn't count on getting home anytime soon. And they're not even showing you the shit that's taking place on 3rd Avenue.

Cisco Technologies, based in San Jose, has partnered with a handful of MLB and NFL teams to bring a host of technological renovations to their stadiums. Among them will be ticket upgrades on airport-style kiosks, concession stand menus on cellphones, and interaction with athletes via Twitter and live video.

A couple of years ago, Cisco recognized how its next-generation network technologies could enhance the sports fan experience. The company developed StadiumVision and other applications to integrate video, voice, data, and wireless services into a single network, then convinced teams it would be the next big thing in fan experience. Cisco clients such as the Yankees, Cowboys, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Dolphins, and Arizona Cardinals signed on.

When Ricci walks into the mock luxury suite at Cisco headquarters, he can touch a specially-designed phone to buy a team jersey, order hot dogs, and change the camera angles displayed on a set of nearby TV screens. One screen shows inside the dugout, another shows the view behind home plate. He can change his perspective with his fingertip.


Many of the innovations can be seen in this graphic, such as hand-held devices that let the user check in on fantasy updates and interact with other fans (both code phrases for "accessing porn."). Notice in the graphic how there are no lines at the kiosks, and how none of them are out of order. This is indeed a utopia.

But should a live sporting event be encumbered by this much technology? Isn't the point of going to a baseball game to get away from cell phones and other electronic gadgets, and spend the day breathing fresh air and interacting with other humans? Personally I'd prefer to just boo a failed play and leave it at that, rather than receive a Twitter from the coach explaining his decision.

Hi, Tech [Boston Globe]

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