NFL May Allow Fans in Stadium to Hear Exclusive Player Audio
The move is yet another tactic the league is considering to combat the lack of ticket sales and mediocre game experiences for fans. Other moves recently created for these purposes included easing up on blackout requirements and allowing fans in the stadiums to see the exact replays the referees are viewing.
The NFL is beginning to realize that going to games simply is not that attractive of an option anymore thanks to high prices for everything from parking to hot dogs, let alone the price of the ticket itself.
The NFL has done such an outstanding job with its broadcasts, subscriptions and smartphone apps that watching games from home is the choice for most fans, which is bad for business.
The microphone idea has not been instituted just yet, but it has been passed by league owners already according to the Wall Street Journal:
"Owners have granted permission for the league to place microphones on certain players so that fans can hear on-field commentary via an in-the-work app that would distribute raw feeds. That is a privilege previously awarded only to networks holding broadcast rights."
This idea to solve the attendance issues throughout the league and up the quality of the in-game experience creates a multitude of questions that to this point remained unanswered.
For one, how much would a smartphone application like this cost? To boost attendance it would have to be cheap considering the expensive cost of a ticket on its own. Sitting at home with some access to microphones on a television broadcast would still be cheaper.
Secondly, football is a violent sport, and with it naturally comes explicit language from the players. Will their be a delayed editing process, or will it simply be unedited at all times? Taking children to a game and giving them access to this application would be great until questionable language is used by impressionable children's heroes.
Would the NFL be able to institute some form of financial penalty or guidelines for players who are alerted that they will be mic'd up during a game? It sounds silly, but not entirely out of the question.
Finally, this has the potential to bring back the Spygate scandal in a big way as this sort of system could be abused by all teams. If it ever progresses to the point where coaches can be mic'd up, things are going to get very hairy for the NFL.
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots were grilled by the NFL for video taping hand signals, but may have been ahead of their time. There is nothing to stop teams from planting someone in the stands and accessing these microphones to learn terminology from opponents.
There are many things about this new idea that the NFL needs to iron out. The owners have given it the green light, but selling it to the coaches around the league is an entire different obstacle.
If the mic'd up idea sees daylight, it will revolutionize the game of football and do wonders for the NFL financially. The NFL will be that much more transparent and accessible to the average fan while the league will profit from the ticket sales and application revenue as the in-game experience catches up with the at-home experience.
There's a long way to go, but the NFL has a revolutionary idea on its hands that could change the NFL as we know it.
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