League focuses on in-stadium fan experience

Though Monday’s press conference from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell contained plenty of intriguing topics, from overtime to the labor deal to overtime, one fairly important — but less compelling — subject came up several times.

The fan experience in the various NFL stadiums.

In his opening remarks, Goodell identified improving the in-stadium experience as one of the three topics discussed during a Monday morning session with the teams.  Later, in response to a question from Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times regarding the possibility that fans eventually will prefer watching the game at home to plunking down big money to be at the stadium, Goodell spoke about efforts to make experiencing games in person more entertaining.

“It may be more comfortable but it’s not more exciting,” Goodell said of the taking in NFL action from the butt-sized groove in the middle of the sofa.  “That’s what we talked about this morning.  And we are actually going back this afternoon and we will be spending more time over the next couple of days.  The issue for us is we are our own competitor in that sense.  High-definition television and RedZone, all of those things do make it attractive to watch on television.

“It’s also exciting to be in the stadium.  Our challenge is to continue to make it exciting for people to come to our facility.  And that comes from a lot of different perspectives.  You start with fan conduct.  We talk about making sure people feel safe and they have a positive experience when they come to our stadiums.  You talk about how we entertain them when they come to our stadiums.  We have to do more with technology.  That is where we come back to innovation.  Can we bring the RedZone into the stadium so that people come into the stadium and feel like they’re being entertained, they are not missing any action around the NFL and they are there enjoying a great football game? 

“Our facilities themselves.  How do we keep investing in and improving on those stadiums so that they come and have a great experience and great facility?  It’s a challenge.  You are absolutely right.  It’s something that the clubs are meeting head on.  We as a league are focused on it and it’s one of our priorities, as I mentioned earlier.  Everybody understands it and everyone is dedicated to continuing to invest, innovate and make sure that we make it a great experience for our fans.”

Goodell added that Dolphins owner Steve Ross will make a presentation on Tuesday regarding the Kangaroo product, a hand-held device used at Sun Life Stadium and made available to the media during Super Bowl XLIV.  It is a remarkable accessory, providing a variety of viewing options for replays and live action.

“Everyone is multitasking here,” Goodell said.  “Kids are consuming three or four different media at once.  That is the future.  People are going to do that.  We all now through technology and these various advancements are getting the chance to experience things we never experienced before in an immediate basis.  We can’t ignore technology and we can’t ignore innovations.  We have got to lead.  That’s what the NFL is doing, leading, so that we are providing our fans that great experience.”

It’s a great approach.  Though we’d prefer that the league’s decision to embrace technology include efforts to improve officiating via ball sensors and laser-powered first-down markers and the use of instant replay on a more widespread basis, we can’t fault the league for ensuring as an initial matter that technology is adopted in the name of preserving and expanding the bottom line.

With a gigantic television set hovering over the playing surface in Dallas, it makes sense for every venue eventually to provide hand-held devices that would allow the user to access comprehensive information — including highlights or live video from other games.  Basically, with advances in technology bringing the stadium into the living room, the league must find a way to bring the living room into the stadium. 

And by all appearances that’s one of the major, yet largely overlooked, themes of the 2010 league meetings.

65 responses to “League focuses on in-stadium fan experience

  1. “It’s also exciting to be in the stadium. Our challenge is to continue to make it exciting for people to come to our facility. And that comes from a lot of different perspectives. You start with fan conduct. We talk about making sure people feel safe and they have a positive experience when they come to our stadiums.
    Therefore, we will be barring any visiting fan from Lincoln Financial Field, and we are barring all Jets fans from away games.”

  2. Goodell..You want some input from an 18 year season ticket holder…Quit jerking with the rules…You can keep the hot dog racing et. all

  3. I’m sure Goodell does enjoy being at the games and not at home watching in HD, I mean how could you not enjoy being dropped off at the gate and then walk around the field until game time and then move into a posh box with free food and plenty of TV’s and no cost.

  4. Stupid! Why would we want people checking stats etc on hand held devices? They should be cheering and paying attention to the game! Why even go to the game at that point? If you want to make the game exciting – put on a good performance on and off the field! And get rid of fantasy football its ruining the game!

  5. So is the new stadium configuration in Santa Clara for the 49ers\Raiders that eliminates tailgating a good thing or a bad thing? Sure it will stop some of the angry drunks from acting like shitheads, but what about those happy drunks that just make an ass out of themselves and provide added entertainment to the rest of us? I mean, the NFL would hate to have people drunk at games right? That’s why they continue to sell beers in limited numbers (yeah that works), have sponsorships from the like, and allow their employees to continue to get DUI’s and kill people! Headline should read “How do we get more money out of the fans by training them to be our bitches!”

  6. I don’t understand the point of bringing the living room into the stadium though. If I have to pay $100 for a ticket, $20 for parking, and $20-30 on food just to experience my living room in the stadium, why would I leave my living room?
    That’s part of the reason why I don’t get the big HD screen in Cowboy stadium…it seems more people end up watching the game on that than the game right in front of them, in which case, they’re suckers in my opinion…paying over $100 bucks for a seat to watch a game on TV.

  7. “…..it makes sense for every venue eventually to provide hand-held devices that would allow the user to access comprehensive information — including highlights or live video from other games. ”
    ’cause the folks who can afford the thousands and thousands of dollars for season tickets can’t afford an iPhone?

  8. Could we please start by not having to listen to 10-second clips of “Start Me Up” and “We Will Rock you” over and over every time we go to a game?
    They were OK the first million times, but after that they’ve gotten kinda old.

  9. Quite honestly, once the television revenues overtook ticket income it was clear that the fans were no longer important to the NFL. Being at a game is not nearly as much fun as it used to be. If you team intercepted the ball and your offense ran onto the field and momentum began changing — that doesn’t exist anymore. That’s because instead of your offense driving the ball they cut away to 5 minutes or more worth of commercials. I think the Commissioner’s efforts are a joke. They don’t care about the fans.

  10. I dont know about everybody else but when I’m at the game i’m not thinking about what else is going on in the league. Yeah, my fantasy football team may cross my mind but I dont need a handheld at my seat. I like it the way it is!

  11. I’d be pleased as hell if the Cowboys’ management could make paying $60 for a small cheese pizza and $22 for a Red Bull no longer part of the ‘fan experience’.
    And as for handheld devices, they’ll either get tossed onto the field of play or walk out of the stadium at the end of the game. Baaaaaaad idea.

  12. One word: Alcohol… The NFL has to deal with the amount sold per fan and not allowing people already intoxicated admission to games. A drunk pissing into a restroom sink when you have your son with you tends to impact the overall gameday experience. Will the league take the hit on alcohol sales? No.

  13. Hey Commish,
    How about you stop gouging fans attending a game in every possible way? Outrageous prices for parking, food, drinks and the tickets themselves keep me away.

  14. Completely out of touch with why people go to football games to see the game live and with other fans!
    Seat licenses, glassed in boxes, etc., etc. Goodell and the owners of today are doing their outright best to kill the golden goose that others built before them.

  15. ” You talk about how we entertain them when they come to our stadiums. We have to do more with technology”
    Dead wrong. If I’m going to a game, it’s to see the game, not “technology”. I can get technology at my house. What I can’t get is real-life players. Also what I can’t get is the atmosphere.
    First, stop jerking tailgaters around. Those folks are your lifeblood. Second, the costs are insane – prices can’t keep going up faster than the general cost of living. People are having to give up season tickets because it’s insane.
    For a long time the NFL beat MLB and NBA because they could give a more exciting atmosphere. But if the rowdy types of fans get priced out in favor of the wine-and-cheese set in luxury boxes, you’re going to have a sterile atmosphere that isn’t worth attending.
    Roger, give me a reason to spend $500 to take my family to a game instead of $20 grilling out at my house and watching on my plasma. And don’t tell me technology because I’m not interested in special effects.

  16. MkePackFan says:
    I don’t understand the point of bringing the living room into the stadium though. If I have to pay $100 for a ticket, $20 for parking, and $20-30 on food just to experience my living room in the stadium, why would I leave my living room?

    exactly! AND spend hours getting there and more hours than that getting out of there and then the trip back home.
    and worse for night games especially weeknight night games when before the game is rush hour and after will get you home at 3am in the morning.
    meadowlands or lincoln financial for just 2 examples

  17. If I go to a game, it is in order to watch that game and only that game. The artificial noise, the “entertainment” and all that other crap is an eyesore and an earsore. I want cheering, and it should be organic. I don’t want the freakin’ Disney experience. Just a game please.

  18. TV has helped killed the in-game experience with all the time outs while watching guys stand around. Make fun of euro-soccer all you want but there are no commercial breaks during the halves, just at half time. Yet another reason Euro’s don’t watch American football; it’s excruciating to them to deal with all the breaks in action.

  19. Keep it the way it is!!!!!!!!!! What in the world is going on in the same off season they have tried to ban the 3 point stance and now this……I am terrified as to what is next

  20. I’m so sick of all these dumb people and their stupid devices who couldn’t change a flat tire if their pathetic lives depended on it.
    How about not waiting 2 hours after the game to finally get out of the parking lot. Or having idiots get up from their seats every 5 f@%ing minutes. Sh!tty brand beer for $10 a pop. Having to walk 5 miles to get to the stadium after you park. You’d think by now SOMEONE would have invented a seat that actually has leg room and not located in the Suites.
    IDIOTS!

  21. The worst rule is that teams are not allowed to encourage fans to make noise, because the visiting teams will have trouble hearing! Now everybody quiet!

  22. Don’t need a hand held device that is passed around every game. Can check espn or other areas for instant updates with my cell.

  23. Mr Goodell, you can retire Crazy Train from the NFL music playlist. Ozzy’s got all the money he needs already.

  24. it’s funny that a guy from LA would talk about fans not showing up to games.. this is EXACTLY why they don’t need another team in LA in the first place.. when you have waiting list for season tickets going into the 20 to 30+ years like you do with alot of these teams how can you talk about people not wanting to show up… not every city is like Jax

  25. I live in Green Bay and I think the ‘experience’ of going to the game is very overrated. You can’t eat at the game not only due to the absurd price but dealing with a sloppy hotdog and drink with 2 fat drunks sitting on you from either side…and those stupid bleachers….it sucks. It’s just NOT that great.
    Parking is too expensive so you have to park 4 blocks away for $10 and walk.
    I am more than happy to go to one game a year. I can my fix and be done with it.
    I have my hdtv,my taco dip,soda and brats..I have my laptop to follow fantasy.
    I don’t have to walk to my car after and wait 20 minutes to get out….at home I can flip to the other game or go do something else.
    I am not on the season ticket list but even if I was I don’t think I’d buy them…mostly because I can’t afford them. If I could I still would only go to 2 games a year and sell the rest.
    I would by far rather go to a Brewer game evne with the 2.5 hour drive.
    A Brewer game for the wife and I runs $120. Thats 2 tix,parking,gas,a snack at the park and dinner in Appleton on the way home.
    A Packer game would cost $170 assuming you get tix at face and don’t eat or drink at the stadium.
    At Brewer games you get bobble heads and free programs…at Packer games you get 25 cent pom poms that fall apart before the game is over and $7 programs that are 90% ads for tractors and insurance companies.

  26. That’s part of the reason why I don’t get the big HD screen in Cowboy stadium…it seems more people end up watching the game on that than the game right in front of them, in which case, they’re suckers in my opinion…paying over $100 bucks for a seat to watch a game on TV.
    —————
    Not everyone that goes to the game watches the screen. And for some reason that stadium continues to make headlines about breaking attendance records. Guess Jerry knows a little something about “fan experience.”

  27. Main complaint about going to games is all the damn TV timeouts and the exhorbitant costs from parking to food and refreshments to ticket prices. People went in the old days because you could take the whole family for 100 bucks including hot dogs and parking and it was constant excitement.
    Nowadays it’s like going to watch a 2 hour movie only it takes 4 hours because every 5 minutes they stop the movie to show an advertisement…and on top of it you have to pay them a couple hundred bucks for the privelege.

  28. i have a question. the league claims that its not viable to use lasers or othe kinds of equipment to tell when the ball crosses the goal line right? well why couldnt they install some sort of metal detecting device at the goal lines and put a chip in the ball?
    metal detectors seem to be able to find anything on a person at an airport. so why cant it find the chip in the ball in a pile of players? couldnt it be set to only detect a certain type of metal that the players dont have on their equipment?
    i have no idea if it would work and it may be a stupid idea, but it could be worth looking into.

  29. I agree with the folks who say we go to the games, for that game. I go to Raider games to watch the team I have loved for 36 yrs play football. I go so I can stand and scream my guts out when they need me. I go to tailgate with friends and family.
    I have an iphone, I don’t need any other gadgets. I can find the scores when I need them. It would be nice if every-effin-thing inside wasn’t so overpriced.
    Spend your $ on improving officiating, and get rid of that ridiculous new “catch rule”….sheesh….

  30. The experience of seeing a game live is a draw all itself, if there’s one thing I can pinpoint missing, it’s all the other games.
    Scoreboards running constantly are a requirement.
    Some things to add would be fantasy stats for those games in a scroll, and at halftime, instead of watching a bunch of handicapped kids play flag football or whatever, how about showing us a recap from Fox or CBS of the halftime highlight reel around the league.

  31. Goodell’s advisors must not be NFL fans. Who would want further distractions at an NFL game like “the Kangaroo product” except nerds?
    While blaming HDTVs and the drunks, what Goodell is missing is that the NFL is doing a terrible job of courting its loyal fan base with its ticket, concession, and parking prices, and its over reaction to a few drunks that is pissing off the 99% who behave themselves while attending tailgate parties & games. How many NFL games are being blacked out today compared to a decade ago?

  32. Goodell justifying the seat license extortion scam perpetrated by his bosses on long-time customers of the NFL.

  33. How about every team does the same thing as Dallas? I am honored to be a Cowboys fan and have an owner that is ahead of the leauge

  34. A lot of good points. I used to go to a few Eagles games a year at both the Vet and the Linc. And as ‘modern’ as the Linc is, it is a very sterile, pre-packaged environment where fan spontaneity is all but discouraged. I’m sure this goes for most of the newer stadiums.
    What I hated most were the interminable time-outs after each possession change or even during a drive. At home, you can get up, hit the facilities whatever, but on a cold, rainy night, you got to sit there and wait, and wait and wait. Maybe I’m old-school with this but I went to the games because I wanted to see and experience THE GAME itself. I could care less about the 1000′ extra-jumbo-megatron scoreboard, or the the fireworks after a score, etc. Who wants hand-held devices? Hey, Roger, here’s a hand-held device for you.
    If Goodell and his band of Not-so Merry Men think the fans want all these extras to justify the costs with going to a game live, they are indeed living in another dimension.

  35. Idea: move M&T Bank Stadium out of Baltimore, so there won’t be so many Baltimorons at the games.

  36. Why don’t you come to Atlanta and take MARTA to and from the game. We’ll see how much fun that is for you.

  37. how am I supposed to hold some hand held device to check stats and scores, when I’ve already got my Iphone in one hand and my beer in the other. Uh oh, I don’t like the way this is going..

  38. There’s a Dallas fan at work who used to go with his 8 year old son to see his team play when they came to Philadelphia. He had to stop because his son took too much abuse from the fans… and he was worried for his safety. The final straw was some drunk pushing him around in the men’s room… yeah, the 8 year old.
    Maybe the league should ask this child about his ‘fan experience’.

  39. Bring the living room into the stadium, huh? So, are they going to let fans watch the game in their underwear?

  40. I think each stadium sideline should have a celebration zone or zones, an area players would be allowed to celebrate without being fined as long as the celebration was reasonable. They could select lucky season ticket holders to come down to the celebration zone and be a part of it for 1 quarter at a time. Also, the celebrations could be televised, and teams could sell naming rights to generate some extra revenue.

  41. With all the tv timeouts it’d be nice to be able to watch other games during all those breaks.

  42. The sooner the fans understand that the NFL owners will not give anything free, the better their understanding of the game process will be…..It pervades the NFL industry from broadcasting to fan enjoyment to parking to tv advertising….. Just think about it and everything you read like this drivel will become very simple and clear…..

  43. Leave it to A Dallas fan to bitch about Philly, Oh What a Suprise! If you don’t like Philly then stay at the DARK STAR in Dallas. where Jerry knows how to do things better than Anybody! all praise Jerry !

  44. @ hashbrowns
    “And get rid of fantasy football its ruining the game!”
    dumbest PFT comment I have heard in weeks. FF is the best thing ever,,, ever

  45. I agree with the comments regarding the price gouging and general better/,ore comfortable experience at home.
    But the NFL has 2 issues no other sport faces.
    1) Inclement weather. No matter how you slice it, sitting outdoors in driving wind,rain,snow bitter cold simply isnt fun.
    2) Almost all their games are at the same time. If you go to a random MLB game youre not missing much league-wide because theres 2000+ games you can catch at other times. If you go to a Sunday afternoon game, youre basically missing everything from both the 1 and 4 games, and if its a 4pm start, you may not even catch the beginning of the Sunday night game, depending on your commute.
    Its really not a difficult choice between spending 100 per ticket, 20 for parking and God forbid 15 for 2 beers (per person) and sitting in crappy weather through endless stoppages of play…or….Sitting at home watching multiple games from the comfort of your living room sofa with your own beer.

  46. I’ve never been to a game live and I doubt I ever will go. I live in DC, and while I’m a Raiders fan I have come to accept my hometown team as #2. However, a pack of clydesdales couldn’t drag me to FedEx Field because it is incredibly overpriced (and I’m not giving Danny boy any of my money)and it sounds like pure hell getting in and out of the stadium. I would rather sit at home with my buddies and drink beer and eat pizza.
    Oh, and how much are ticket prices going to go up because of the Kangaroo?

  47. All you have to do to improve the fan experience is:
    1) Lower prices of concessions…at least a LITTLE. Beer can be $4 and they’ll still make millions upon millions on it. It doesn’t have to be $7 for a cup that usually spills at some point. A hot dog doesn’t have to be $6.
    2) Update scores from around the league at every single play stoppage. Not between plays but at timeouts, after scores, etc.
    3) You can’t overhaul the entire “fan conduct” policies, as that will keep people away as well. If people know that it’s not a family atmosphere, but rather a football game, and only football fans show up, you’ll be ok. There are family zones that can hold more than enough families.
    You don’t have to keep making more and more money with crazy gizmos and more technology…that will only raise the costs of tickets and concessions even more. We’re in a recession people. Money is the problem, not the product. People will go if they can afford it because there’s no experience better than going to an NFL game. Sorry college fans, but pro is better because of the raucus behavior.

  48. “That’s part of the reason why I don’t get the big HD screen in Cowboy stadium…it seems more people end up watching the game on that than the game right in front of them”
    Why does it seem that way to you? Ever been there?

  49. Roger, just some friendly ideas for the rules committee to tweak so that the fan has more an “experience”—
    1. You are allowed to smash the punter at all times.
    2. You are allowed to smash the quarterback.
    3. Mel Blount defense is legalized. Smash wide receivers early, often, and everywhere on the field.
    4. You are allowed to run into the kicker, or the holder, at any time.
    5. The crack back block is deemed to be a wonderful addition.
    6. Defensive pass interference now only entails facemask oriented penalties.
    Want to increase my experience? Make the game football again, and not something that girls can play.

  50. “I’d be pleased as hell if the Cowboys’ management could make paying $60 for a small cheese pizza and $22 for a Red Bull no longer part of the ‘fan experience’.”
    There’s another one that’s never been there.

  51. “Not everyone that goes to the game watches the screen.”
    You have to understand that there is a certain percentage of the population that are mouth-breathers that just can’t avert their eyes from a shiny pretty thing. From what I can tell they go to other stadiums so Cowboys Stadium shouldn’t have that problem.

  52. “Leave it to A Dallas fan to bitch about Philly, Oh What a Suprise!”
    Right, because it’s not like there’s anything to bitch about in Philly. Only Dallas fans don’t like it! Get real. How about they continue to bust your lowbrow, lightweight asses and force you to drink near beer or Sprite so everyone else can enjoy the game without getting harrassed by you silly, drunken idiots?

  53. “There’s another one that’s never been there.”
    I’m shocked, SHOCKED I tell you – a faux DOT Vox calling people liars on the Internet. You mean the Internet actually has trolls? And liars? Golly!
    The $60 pizza and $22 Red Bull prices are well documented, numbnuts. And I’ve been there for two games and a concert and seen (and paid) them first-hand. So take your DOT and insert it in your anal cavity.

  54. ” # jjared1101 says: March 23, 2010 12:59 AM
    Not everyone that goes to the game watches the screen. And for some reason that stadium continues to make headlines about breaking attendance records. Guess Jerry knows a little something about “fan experience.”
    He also knows quite a bit about “fan stupidity”.
    Where else will drunks pay $29 for a “Party Pass” only to have to stand shoulder to shoulder with all the other cheap drunks, standing in puke, urine and spilled beer, all while NOT being able to see the game?

  55. “The $60 pizza and $22 Red Bull prices are well documented, numbnuts.”
    The “$22 for a Red Bull” is actually for a 4 pack of Red Bulls, dumbass. The pizza (and $66 12 packs of beer) are only available to silver level occupants and above. The “small cheese pizza” is a 20-inch with choice of toppings included in the price. If you don’t have a seat in a suite, you can’t get them. The pizza and 12-packs are the same price they were in Texas Stadium, by the way. And only available in suites, just like Texas Stadium.
    “And I’ve been there for two games and a concert and seen (and paid) them first-hand.”
    Liar. Stop being a poser. You’d know this stuff if you’d actually been there. My suggestion to you is that if you ever DO go, you should stick with the $8 beer singles and $5.50 hot dogs.

  56. “Where else will drunks pay $29 for a “Party Pass” only to have to stand shoulder to shoulder with all the other cheap drunks, standing in puke, urine and spilled beer”
    No see, it’s Cowboys Stadium, not the Linc or the Ketchup Bowl.

  57. He also knows quite a bit about “fan stupidity”.
    Where else will drunks pay $29 for a “Party Pass” only to have to stand shoulder to shoulder with all the other cheap drunks, standing in puke, urine and spilled beer, all while NOT being able to see the game?
    ——————
    Haha…you’re right! Cause people just stand up there and puke and piss and everyone just hangs out in it.
    Can you actually come up with a factual reason as to why you don’t like Jerry Jones, or the stadium?
    I didn’t think so.

  58. And DOT Vox lies again. And trolls, but not very well.
    Now run along DOT Vox, the adults are talking here.

  59. You know what would get me into a stadium?

    Being confident that the tickets I’ve paid for are going to get me into the game.

    If fans have to worry about not getting seats now, they’re not going to bother.

    The NFL needs to fix this Superbowl seating issue in a way that doesn’t continue to leave people who weren’t effected scratching their heads about if they want to bother going to a game in person.

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