NFL uses eye-tracking technology to improve game presentation

The NFL has decided to take steps aimed at improving the TV presentation of its games, with specific focus on pace. To do that, the league actually went to the homes of fans to “replicat[e] the game experience.”

That’s what NFL COO Tod Leiweke told the second annual Geek Wire Sports Tech Conference at CenturyLink Field, via Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.

“We’re really starting to study how people are watching games,’’ Leiweke said. “And we’re doing it in really, really interesting ways.’’

Among other things, the league is using eye-tracking technology in fan homes to monitor the things they follow during the games, along with what they do during commercial breaks. The study has contributed to a decision to reduce the total number of commercial breaks from five per quarter to four.

“They want a pace of play that doesn’t involve us chopping things up,’’ Leiweke said. “[Y]ou’re going to see, next [season] really working hard to tighten up that game presentation and present the game with more of that pace.’’

It’s all part of an effort to deal with any ever-changing present that continues to raise questions about the future, given the explosion of options that consumers now have when it comes to the many different ways to spend their time — considerably more than the days when the options were to watch one of three channels on TV, read a book or a magazine, or stare off into space like David Puddy.

“Anyone who thinks they know exactly what’s going to happen is not telling you the truth,’’ Leiweke said. “Because it’s very, very hard to tell, in this rapidly changing world, what this is all going to look like in 2025.’’

It’s very, very to tell what it’s all going to look like in 2017. For those who watch NFL games, it’s apparently going to start looking a lot different.

21 responses to “NFL uses eye-tracking technology to improve game presentation

  1. You have to love the photo, a good Clockwork Orange reference is going to be lost on a lot of people though. It’s a good movie, but, as always, the book is better than the movie.

  2. As a fan of the NFL, and avid viewer since the early seventies, I have always been drawn to the sideline interactions. The NFL needs to focus on this part of the game a lot more, with their broadcast.

    Show us the coaches speaking to their secondary that just got torched, show us more of the quarterback walking the bench telling his team “we are going to go back out there and punch it in again,” or the d-lineman discussing their blitz package that forced the opponent into a punting situation instead of three points.

    Look, the NFL has alot of “characters,” why not show them at their best not just making plays but by being the great teammates that they are?

  3. Free tip – reduce Godell’s power. There’s a reason why we have a judicial system. The bs repression of talent like Gordon, m Bryant, is terrible

  4. If the NFL is interesting in getting millennials to watch more they should prerecord 16 weeks of gameplay during the summer and then allow them to binge watch a whole season in one weekend on a streaming service. Except the playoffs which will be broken up into 2 segments that will be released 12 months apart.

  5. “They want a pace of play that doesn’t involve us chopping things up,’’

    Can we stop acting like millennials invented this complaint?

    EVERYONE for decades has had this complaint, but now it’s all about “reaching millennials”, and the subsequent over-researching of things.

    For example, it’s just now that people are realizing the whole score a touchdown, commercial, extra point, commercial, kickoff, commercial … is stupid?

    No, this complaint has been going on before millennials existed, yet somehow now it’s like Carter discovering King Tut’s tomb apparently.

    Stop the technology and just use more common sense.

  6. What are commercials? Most fans sit with their fat asses plopped on Lazy Boys munching on Supreme Cheddar Dorito’s . They are further armed with a beer in one hand a TV flicker in the other going back and forth between the home game and Red Zone.

  7. brohamma says:
    Jun 26, 2017 1:52 AM

    As a fan of the NFL, and avid viewer since the early seventies, I have always been drawn to the sideline interactions. The NFL needs to focus on this part of the game a lot more, with their broadcast.

    Show us the coaches speaking to their secondary that just got torched, show us more of the quarterback walking the bench telling his team “we are going to go back out there and punch it in again,” or the d-lineman discussing their blitz package that forced the opponent into a punting situation instead of three points.

    Look, the NFL has alot of “characters,” why not show them at their best not just making plays but by being the great teammates that they are?
    ==================================
    Those types of things are good for replays of games when one KNOWS what was important and what isn’t. I don’t want to see the camera focusing in on some chit-chat while the plays are being made…THAT would be BAD!! Leave those for the replay and focus on the game itself!! Let these other things be added for the replay…it’s hard enough to NOT miss plays now, so adding in some sideline chatter will almost gurantee plays will be missed.

  8. Do they really need a study to determine what viewers do during commercial breaks? I’ll save you some time:

    1. Hit the mute button.
    2. Go to the bathroom.
    3. Grab more refreshments.

    Study complete.

  9. bannedfromchoirpractice says:
    Jun 25, 2017 11:36 PM
    The guy in the picture has an uncanny resemblance to Warren Sapp.
    _____________________________

    The guy in the picture???
    Any guy over 20 that doesn’t recognize Malcolm McDowell in Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange needs to surrender their man card.

  10. After conducting the study, coverage of cheerleaders will go from about a total of one minute a game to 15.

  11. They won’t reduce the number of commercials, just the number of commercial breaks. The four breaks will each be longer.

    I think the commercial breaks complaint is more important for people AT games, and night games when there’s only one game on. If it’s Sunday afternoon and a commercial comes on, I just change to another game or Redzone while waiting for my primary game to come back on. For people at the games, fewer but longer breaks might be better because then you have time to get your business done during break instead of missing plays because of the bathroom or beer line.

  12. Uh oh, now I’m gonna have to wear sunglasses as well as tinfoil… But even not counting in-program “now it’s time for bla bla, brought to you by…” advertising, Wall Street Journal’s famous study of the average 3.25hr NFL televised game counted 100 ads across 20 breaks and just 11 mins of actual gameplay (i.e. when ball in motion). And you can be sure if they’re reducing from 5 to 4 ads per break, they’ll just have either longer ads or more breaks, or other in-program sponsorship/plugs etc – they won’t be cutting 20% of marketing revenue.

  13. Those types of things are good for replays of games when one KNOWS what was important and what isn’t. I don’t want to see the camera focusing in on some chit-chat while the plays are being made…THAT would be BAD!! Leave those for the replay and focus on the game itself!! Let these other things be added for the replay…it’s hard enough to NOT miss plays now, so adding in some sideline chatter will almost gurantee plays will be missed.

    ===============================

    I think you, and many others missed my point. When a timeout is called, and it is used as a “commercial chance” what I am saying is.. stay with the feed from the stadium.

    Instead of getting another avalanche of fast food, beverage and home improvement commercials you get a view of the sidelines and things going on on the opposite side of the sidelines.

    Obviously, they need to be showing the plays!

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