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4 NFL Tech Takeaways From This Season

Stephanie Rodriguez Co-Op, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 5 Feb 2019

This blog post describes four innovative, forward-thinking technology takeaways and use cases from the ’18-’19 NFL season. 

As the NFL season comes to an end, let’s reflect upon the new changes in technology that have been implemented and tested throughout the season., including:

  • Mobile ticketing
  • Biometric screening
  • Gambling via Smartphone Applications
  • Virtual Reality

Mobile Ticketing: Getting into Stadiums Just Got Easier

Technology is changing the way we purchase our favorite products, and in today’s digitalized society, tickets to our favorite sporting events is no different. As part of a broader League-wide initiative, NFL teams are beginning to transition to a mobile-centric approach to ticketing.  Teams like the Green Bay Packers are expanding their existing technology investments to better enable digital ticketing; the team implemented Wi-Fi in the parking lots at Lambeau Field to   easily access mobile tickets   via fans‘ smartphones,   allowing  for a seamless interaction  entering the  stadium

Mobile ticketing is also inspiring creative partnerships to develop with notable app providers and fan experience platforms. Snapchat has partnered with SeatGeek to integrate social media with an in-app ticket service provider to simplify the purchase process, and personalize offerings to users based on  individual preferences and usage on the app.  Fans have already started utilizing this joint service, and Juniper Research estimates that by 2020, 1.6B users will be using mobile ticketing as an overall form to purchase tickets in the future.

Similarly, Ticketmaster has partnered with the National Football League to implement online ticketing to all sporting events,  reducing the use of third party ticket vendors. E-tickets allow fans to download their purchase, accessed on their smartphone and scanned upon entering the event. Mobile ticketing gives NFL teams a glimpse into important data about the individuals that attend their games, which they can use to adjust products, services, and promotions within the stadium and their respective team sites.

Biometric Screening- Fast. Reliable. Secure.

Tired of waiting in line during half-time? Biometric screening is changing the way fans purchase refreshments throughout the gameday experience. Due to Washington’s approval to replace a traditional ID check with biometric age validations, CenturyLink field has started to implement CLEAR technology into their stadium to enhance their fans experience, and improve their overall security measures throughout the venue.  In addition to CLEAR security lanes outside the stadium, CLEAR members at CenturyLink Field can now buy food and drinks, and simultaneously prove that they are of legal age for alcohol purchases, all with just their fingerprints.

“As we continue to pursue enhancements to the fan experience at CenturyLink Field, our partnership with CLEAR has enabled us to provide a new service to the 12s not only for faster entry, but also as a new option to buy food and verify age for alcohol purchases with only their fingertips.” – Chip Suttles, VP of Technology for the Seattle Seahawks 

As the first team to implement biometric screening technology in the NFL, CenturyLink Field and Seattle Seahawks continually look for innovative ways to improve the game day experience, increase convenience, and deliver more value to their fans on game day.  

Gambling: Via Smart Phone Applications

New Jersey, Delaware and Mississippi have started to incorporate regulatory sports gambling. The recent NFL season is the first in which sportsbooks outside of a casino have direct ties to the league, some even operating from inside stadiums during games.

Draft Kings, an online betting provider, allows fans to bet on their favorite teams and players in real-time. The company launched a mobile sportsbook in New Jersey during a Browns-Giants preseason game at MetLife Stadium, marking the first NFL game in which fans could place bets from inside a professional stadium. Even though state-to-state legalization of gambling is still in process, and the market is still young, it undoubtedly provides fans with a new form of interaction with the game and an enhanced NFL experience.

Virtual Reality: Changing the Way We View the Game

Not a fan of your seat? Fox Sports has partnered with NextVR to broadcast live sporting events using virtual reality technology. From a Fans perspective, VR will get you closer to the game and even on the field. Virtual reality is also being used on and off the field to help players’ performance. With ticket prices reaching all-time highs during the end of the season, VR might be the best way to enjoy an intimate view of the game (from your home) in the future.

The world of sports continues to change with every form of technology that capsules the way we view sporting events. As fans, it’s helping us follow the action, and in the case of technology, helping directly connect with our favorite sports teams and players.

Interested in learning more on how NFL teams continue to leverage Wi-Fi technology to enhance their fans’ gameday experience? If so, check out the resources below:

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