Future arriving at Gillette Stadium


An interesting story we’ve been following and covering over the last few months is the brewing internal competition for fans’ attention league-wide. More specifically, the issue has been how the at-home product (HDTV, NFL Sunday Ticket, etc.) has become so good that the in-stadium experience is now a tougher sell.

Well, the Patriots have been at the forefront in that battle (the massive new HD boards are Exhibit A of that), and what some of you going to game tomorrow will get is a look at the next step in the process of revolutionizing what fans can do while they’re there.

The Patriots have partnered with Yinzcam to create an app for iPhone and Droid mobile devices that will allow fans to watch replays from four different camera positions within the stadium and the Red Zone channel on their phones, and check scores and stats in real time. The Pittsburgh Penguins are already employing it, while New England is the first NFL team to do so, something tucked into my Sunday NFL Notes last week in an item on this concept across the sport.

It’s pretty cool stuff, all the way around. Patriots president Jonathan Kraft has spearheaded the effort and Fred Kirsch, publisher & vice president of content

at Kraft Sports Productions, has overseen its development. For now, it’s only available to the 8,000 fans in the club seats and suites, but the idea is, eventually, to have it all over the stadium. Other teams came in during the preseason to take a look at how the Patriots are executing all of it.

The biggest problem for now is bandwidth. If you’ve ever tried to use your cell phone at a game, you know what I’m talking about, and that’s really all that’s holding the Patriots back from making it available throughout Gillette Stadium.

I’ll be interested to see how this all works out.

When I talked to Kirsch about this stuff, what he was most excited about is how things can change, from a technology standpoint, so quickly these days that the issues ahead could simply dissipate and new features could come about naturally. The idea, too, was to have a product that was malleable enough to adjust to that ever-changing digital world.

But for now, this seems like a pretty progressive step, and it gives those of you sitting in the premium areas tomorrow something to look forward to.


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