Fans of NFL Football- First Downs Along with First Adopters?

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Advertising, Industry Research, Marketing, Media, Mobile Technology, Social Media, Sports, Technology, Tools/Gadgets, TV
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September 12, 2010- http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978513602

As the 2010 regular NFL football season begins, fans are reminded of everything they love about the game- the rushing roar of the home team crowd, the crisp fall weather, the complex plays, the strut and swagger of the scoring players. But fans should also take note of the new technology constantly being deployed and tested on football’s biggest fan base- the TV audience.

It may not be obvious why football fans would be such early technology adopters, but it begins to make more sense as you consider how statistically obsessed and fantasy football-involved the modern fan is. A Democrat and Chronicle article reporting on the effects of technology on modern NFL football consumption reported that one average fan they interviewed for their article is “never without his iPhone as he is constantly fed game updates and statistics each Sunday. At home, he watches games on his new big-screen plasma high-definition television through the Dish Network and writes a fantasy football blog at http://www.ffgeekblog.com.”

The same article listed some interesting stats on NFL media consumption, “While 1 million fans watch NFL games in person each week, an average of 16 million watch on television.” TVbytheNumbers.com reported that, according to Nielsen, this year’s first regular season game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints on September 10th was the most watched first regular season game ever.

With technologies such as high definition quality, the virtual visual 1st down line, access to any game via the Sunday Ticket, replays, and other league scores rotating on the screen, there’s no doubt that the ability to consume NFL games on TV is better-than-ever. But at stake are ticket sales for the live games, which suffer in terms of convenience and overall costs. Fewer people buying tickets to live games means more local blackouts. NFL team owners and stadium managers are investigating options such as seatback tv screens to bring that experience to the live game, but mobile and wireless technologies are still reigning supreme.

All of this adds up to make American football fans (college as well as NFL) some of the biggest consumers of home entertainment centers, TV equipment, and cable and satellite TV packages. However, as the future of network and cable TV looms ever more uncertain, and as web-based offerings work harder and harder to enhance the scope of their offerings, it seems inevitable that newly emerging products that incorporate the TV and web-browsing experience such as Google TV and Apple TV are perfectly suited to cater to these NFL early adopters with cutting edge offerings. How they do so and how much they cater to this influential demographic of TV fans still remains to be seen.

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