With ticket prices rising and leagues facing increased competition for scarce entertainment dollars, the Big Ten has made a move to enhance the in-stadium experience for it fans.
From the Big Ten Office:
Big Ten schools can now show an unlimited number of replays on football stadium videoboards, as recently approved by conference administrators. The enhanced replay program occurred as part of a broader discussion by the Big Ten Football Gameday Experience Subcommittee in an effort to supplement the in-stadium experience.
Previously, institutions were able to show one replay at no less than 75% of real time speed. The enhanced policy gives an institution the discretion to show multiple replays at any speed, similar to what is done for television audiences.
With large HD screens and comfortable couches at home, not to mention the imposition of "voluntary" seat donations, some fans have begun to question the value of attending games in person.
Leagues are scrambling to not only encourage attendance but to create new digital content that can be re-purposed for their networks and websites.
One group who might not be happy with more in-stadium replays are referees, who will no doubt face the ire of unhappy fans agitated by replays of controversial plays.
And more features are on the horizon.
The subcommittee has encouraged each institution to explore the feasibility of adding full WiFi and Distributed Antenna System (DAS) coverage along with enhanced audio/video content (e.g., locker room video) that would be proprietary to stadium videoboards. The group also encouraged institutions to provide increased coverage of other Big Ten and NCAA games and to explore the possibility of creating lounge-style environments for fans to watch those games or to connect through social media.
It remains to be seen how these changes will impact the fans at Michigan Stadium, but these changes should be evident at the home opener against Central Michigan.