Ahead of the Game

The San Francisco Giants aren’t the only tech-savvy team in professional sports. Leagues worldwide are using technology to improve their teams and keep fans happy.

Dallas Mavericks—National Basketball Association
Named the best NBA city in the country, Dallas is home to one of the most technologically advanced professional sports teams. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also owns HDNet, the first national high-definition TV network, and not surprisingly, has installed an eight-sided high-definition scoreboard in the $320 million American Airlines Center, which opened in 2001. All 144 luxury suites have flat-screen plasma televisions with Internet access. Wireless is available, too. Fans can even e-mail Cuban during the game with questions (his e-mail address is on the scoreboard). The team’s ten assistant coaches sit courtside with laptops and handhelds, and have access to a digital content management system and searchable database that matches game footage with NBA stats.

Jacksonville Jaguars—National Football League
The newly renovated Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., will be host to Super Bowl XXXIX in February 2005—and the Jaguars are already getting ready. In addition to the $5 million Pepsi Tailgate Zone and the $4 million Daktronics Inc. scoring and video display system, management has included an access-control system that eliminates having to tear tickets at the stadium gates. For admission, fans will have their ticket stubs scanned at numerous locations around the entire perimeter of the grounds, which stretches 100 feet from the stadium— preventing access for counterfeit tickets and allowing for the purchase of single-game tickets as e-tickets (using a credit card) for entry into the game.

Green Bay Packers— National Football League
Packers coaches are using business intelligence to keep their team on the ball. They’re getting some help from Pinnacle Systems Inc., which developed a digital video system that records the game and scoreboard statistics, and then converts the information into digital records. Game data such as completed passes and interceptions is added to the files, and coaches add voice-over commentaries before the information is stored in an Oracle Corp. database. Coaches can then call up video compilations of specific plays, computer-identified trends and archived game statistics—letting the staff make better, statistically based decisions during games—and, they say, improve the team’s overall performance.

Manchester City Football Club—Premier League Soccer, U.K.
In 2003, the U.K’s Manchester City kicked off its 110th season with a new, state-of-the-art soccer venue that it calls the “intelligent stadium,” featuring a Wi-Fi network that supports Europe’s first ticketless access system for speedy, contact-free entry into games. Designed by Hewlett-Packard Co., Cisco Systems Inc., and Fortress GB Ltd., the system includes RFID-enabled smart cards that must be scanned at one of the stadium’s 84 turnstiles for entry. The smart cards were used by 85,000 fans last season—they are included with season tickets or can be purchased for one-time use—allowing up to 1,200 patrons to enter per minute and reducing waiting time to enter the grounds by half. Each card ID is registered to a single user and a history of the fan’s purchasing behavior can be entered into the team’s CRM system for marketing purposes.

Get the Free Newsletter!

Subscribe to Daily Tech Insider for top news, trends, and analysis.

Latest Articles