For decades, television networks have used the latest technology to make sports fans watching at home feel like they are at the game.
In a striking reversal, the New England Patriots are at the forefront of new, high-tech efforts to make fans at the stadium feel more at home. Last season, the team rolled out a suite of new features on the Patriots Gameday mobile app designed to mimic the conveniences fans enjoy on their own sofas.
Love being able to watch other games when there’s a break in the action? The app includes a live stream of the popular Red Zone channel, which skips from game to game to show plays near the goal line.
Like the fact that there’s no beer line in your home kitchen? In some sections of Gillette Stadium, you can order concession items on your smartphone and receive an alert when they’re ready for pickup, so there’s no standing and waiting.
The Patriots installed a high-capacity Wi-Fi network at Gillette to make the app run smoothly, and the rest of the NFL is catching on. Just a few months after Extreme Networks Inc. acquired the New Hampshire firm behind the Patriots’ Wi-Fi, the league announced it would partner with Extreme to make other stadiums more connected, too.
Expect more digital add-ons in the stands next season. One already on tap for the Pats: a dedicated cheerleader camera streaming video to your device.