Football season is coming. It won't be long until many of us are spending several Saturdays (and a Thursday) at Williams-Brice Stadium. The off season has been long, and one of the narratives has been the declining attendance at college football games. Whether the numbers represent an aberration or a trend can be debated, but clearly the costs of attending games in person are more than the past while technology continues to improve the viewer's at home experience.
Assuming technology will continue to improve the at-home experience, this is the first in a series about what Carolina could do to improve the game day experience.
How about wifi? Internet connectivity is an increasingly pervasive aspect of most of our lives. Many of us watch live sports with twitter at our fingertips, that is, until we get in the stadium. In all large stadiums there are simply too many peolpe tightly clustered for the existing cellular network to provide service. When you consider how many people are trying to use network hogging data, a change has to be made.
Carolina responded last season by bringing in temporary cell phone towers. This was a great response, and there was more connectivity available, but not enough. WiFi is the long term solution. Admittedly there are some technical solutions to overcome, but this would add greatly to the fan experience.
Speaking of things I do at home, during commercials I want to know what is going on with other games. I want to know about the big other games, especially the SEC games that affect our standing. In an ideal world, I'd like 90 seconds of up to the minute highlights shown on the video board, but I don't think that's realistic, not until the SEC Network is completely up and running, anyway.
So, instead, during commercial breaks let's use our massive television to watch television. The SEC contract with ESPN should create plenty of choices. Show me the Georgia game for 3 minutes. You can sell sponsorship and have that logo as a banner. I'd much rather see that than find out who the Gamecock fan of the game is.
Speaking of ways to better utilize the jumbotron, I'd love, love to see the slow motion replays that everyone at home gets to see. I know there is a conference rule that prevents us from doing that, so the rule needs to be changed. How can the forward looking SEC enforce a rule that guarantees fans at the stadium have an inferior experience to fans at home? Is that a sound strategy for selling tickets? Until that rule is changed any talk from the conference about addressing declining attendance seems insincere.
Would your gameday experience be improved with these changes? I have more suggestions and will post those in the coming days.