Why Are Professional Sports Leagues Slow with New Tech Inside Their Stadiums?

This morning coming across the Mashable post Yankee Stadium Bans iPads, it reminded me of a similar tech experience with the NHL a number of years ago. I was at hockey game five or six years ago when digital cameras where pretty common but still somewhat pricey. Taking some photos for my own purposes I was asked by security to stop shooting. I was given a lame excuse about being able to capture motion because of the visible screen on the back. It didn’t make sense then nor does it now. Essentially they wanted to keep me away from creating my own images. Today digital cameras are as common as mobile phones. The rule is probably still there that photos shouldn’t be taken but it’s unpractical to enforce. It’s also part of the fan experience of being engaged to take photos of their fav. moments.

The latest tech issue today is the Yankees not allowing iPads at games. I’m pretty sure they’re not the only team enforcing the rule but they’re the team getting the attention for it. It baffles me why any team, league or stadium would want to enforce such rules. It comes down to sports organizations not having a process in place to create better fan experiences with technology that are being lead by the actual fans. Why not see what people are wanting to do at the stadium with this stuff, learn about what isn’t working and create payable features that make the experience better? As it stands people are treated like criminals for trying to sneak stuff into a game to make the experience better. It’s so counterproductive.

The iPad at a game should be encouraged. I can think of a ton of live data features that would make watching baseball more interesting. Instead of being open to those kind of ideas sport organizations are content with staying static. If they’re truly interested in bringing more people to the stadium they need to let go of what they think is the experience and let the fans create it.

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