A future look at an innovative marketing approach for fans is being tested this year at Seattle's Safeco Field.
The Nintendo DS is going to change the way we attend sporting events and participate as a fan.
The deal was struck as part of Nintendo of America's majority ownership of the Seattle Mariners, but it shows the ways in which technologies can be used for a variety of purposes, in this case using a Nintendo device not just for video games, but as an audience participant of live sporting games as well.
Right now in Seattle, you can pay five dollars to download and use the new Nintendo Fan Network (NFN) software to receive the latest in stylized service. $30 pays for 10 sessions.
The software allows you to check out player stats from MLB.com and watch the live TV broadcast. However, replay action is just the beginning. For those of us who attend sporting events often, how often have you wished you could order peanuts and beer from your seats as well? The NFN is designed so that ordering food is only a stylus click away, and users can even track the progress of their food order on the screen.
The process will feel, in many ways, like tracking a FedEx order...except with the DS you can watch the entire process.
Earlier this week, Sam Ford, C3's Project Manager, discussed the "authentic experience" that fans crave when they attend sport events, even though when you go to these events you have a "much worse view, cannot hear the commentators, and forego instant replays." I would argue that with the program the NFN model provides attending a baseball game is not only a more authentic experience than sitting on your couch at home, but it is further enhanced by the interactions this new experience provides.
There are many potential applications of such a program. A fun game might be to try to intersect the food halfway to your seat...but that might defeat the point for convenience...Perhaps most Seattle fans will just sit back and cheer on their team as the food is delivered. That's what I call a "home run," (pun intended).
NFN offers fans an innovative way to connect to each other. You can play trivia and word search games against other fans in the stadium. Imagine the future dating services that might emerge because of this technology.
There have been talks that Cisco Systems has pitched advanced technology for the Oakland Athletics' new ballpark in Fremont, Calif. Everything from digital advertising displays that are able to switch images based on the buying habits of the people walking by through data embedded in their cell phones, to fans in the nose-bleed sections being able to view replays with laptops that would be provided at their seats, could be part of such services.
The future is looking stylized and, as a fan, the potential of this new use of technology makes me quite happy.
Here is a video with more information about the NFN software.
While the idea of NFN excites me tremendously because I own a Nintendo DS. I can't help but asking will Safeco Field allow patrons to rent the DS? How can all sport stadiums adapt this model but also allow open access to all of its fans?
Quote of the day: I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records people's accomplishments; the front page nothing but man's failures. ~Earl Warren, quoted in Sports Illustrated, 22 July 1968