Posted: 9:13 a.m. Tuesday, March 26, 2013
By David Fucillo
The San Francisco 49ers are moving in to their new stadium in 2014, and Jed York has made it clear that he wants the 49ers new home to be a technological marvel. While Jerry Jones has his monster jumbotron, Jed York wants the 49ers stadium to be know for being environmentally friendly and technologically advanced.
As part of the plan for technological advancement, the 49ers are attempting to develop the most publicly accessible Wi-Fi network ever built in America. Ars Technica spoke with 49ers Chief Technology Officer Kunal Malik and Senior IT Director Dan Williams to get the full breakdown on their plans. The network construction will begin in early 2014 and I recommend reading the article, as I cannot even begin to explain the details they discuss about developing such a system.
This got me thinking. The NFL product has become one that is much easier to enjoy on television than in person. While a football game is a lot of fun, watching at home on your television provides a lot of opportunities you cannot get at a game. You can maintain a consistent second screen viewing experience while watching the game. By that, I mean you can easily keep your laptop, tablet or phone right next to you to further your own game-day experience. That could mean engaging here on Niners Nation, looking up the details on your fantasy team(s) or simply looking for some information related to the game.
The 49ers attempts to develop this monstrous Wi-Fi network would seem to be one way to combat the urge many have to stay home. I don't think the 49ers have any immediate concerns about not filling up the stadium, but it is good that they are looking for more ways to improve the game-day experience.
What other things need to be added to improve the game-day experience? Improving cell phone coverage is a pretty huge addition since people do so many things with their phones. However, for people looking to stay off their phone, I think one useful addition would be more fantasy stats from games around the league.
The 49ers already show scores from games on the Candlestick Park scoreboard, but they provide little additional information outside of a few highlights. Why not work a deal with Yahoo! to provide fantasy stats courtesy of Yahoo! Fantasy Sports? You could break out the top two or three fantasy performers from each game on the scoreboard.
Any other thoughts on improving the experience? I realize a lot of people here do not live in the Bay Area and will not be attending games anytime soon, but ideas are nonetheless always welcome.