Training Day: Alex Brink of E-Force Football

In our last two editions of Succeed in Football, we’ve spoken to two of the trainers we work with at Inside the League, Dave Spitz of California Strength and Darryl Wong of Sparta Science. They are two of the 30-plus combine prep specialists we work with every day at Inside the League.

Today, we talk to former NFL and CFL quarterback Alex Brink of E-Force Football in Lake Oswego, Ore. Not only is he a former NFL draftee (7/223, 2008, Texans), but he was one of the quarterbacks on the 2008 Hula Bowl roster assembled by ITL’s Neil Stratton.

Tell me about your career, who you learned the most from along the way, and how you’ve incorporated that learning into what you do now.

“I was fortunate to play for a number of great coordinators and QB coaches during my career. My college OC (at Washington State), Timm Rosenbach, is one of the best QB mentors I have been around. His experience playing at a high level at Washington State as well as being a first-round pick in the 1989 supplemental draft gave him a depth of knowledge that few coaches I know can match. I was also fortunate to spend time with (49ers head coach) Kyle Shanahan during my time with the Houston Texans. Kyle is by far one of the smartest offensive minds I have been around and I have drawn on his coaching throughout my career and in my coaching of quarterbacks.”

What are some classic mistakes that quarterbacks make during the pre-combine process that negatively affect them?

“Too often quarterbacks focus only on the physical aspects of preparing for the NFL. They put too much emphasis on combine drills and fundamental work, but when they end up getting picked up by a team do not know how to handle the mental rigors of being an NFL QB. Although fundamentals are important, the most important work a QB can do pre-draft is learning how to process an NFL playbook and how to handle the mental stress of playing the position.”

What percentage of a QB’s success is dependent on work off the field (film, board, character, leadership)? How do you relate/explain that to QB prospects?

“Obviously physical tools are important — you have to be above a base threshold of talent to make it in the NFL — but more important are the mental and psycho-social elements of playing QB. This is 90% of where a quarterback’s success comes from. I was below-average physically as a player, but was able to extend an eight-year professional career because of my commitment to studying film, understanding playbooks and being a great leader. I am able to relate to prospects because I have been in every possible position you can be in as a pro: making a team as a rookie, battling for a roster spot as a vet, being a starter, being a backup, going to a new team, etc. During our preparation, we constantly focus on how to digest a playbook, break down film and develop all necessary tools to be an NFL quarterback.”

What percentage of a QB’s potential is purely dependent on raw arm strength? Is it the most important characteristic? If not, what is?

“Arm strength plays a role, but it is a very low percentage of a QB’s potential for success. As long as a QB has the base level of arm strength they can make it at the next level as long as they process information well; that is the most important characteristic a QB can have. Do they process all of the information pre- and post-snap in the most efficient and accurate way possible?”

 

 

 

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Training Day: Darryl Wong of Sparta Science

This week, with players and agents making decisions on where to train for the NFL Combine and pro days in March, we’re talking to our combine prep partners about their methods, clients, and success stories. There’s more than one way to maximize a player’s explosiveness and unlock his potential, and we’re out to learn how the best trainers across the country hone each player’s athleticism.

Today, we talk to Darryl Wong of Sparta Science, an innovative training destination near San Francisco.

Sparta Science has involvement with National Football Scouting. What is your role with them?

“We were at the NFL Combine last year and here is a short article on what we do and how Jeff Foster, Director of National Football Scouting, integrates our technology in the combine. We will be there again this year and it is part of the medical/physical evaluations that every player will have to go through. That way teams will be able to gather deeper evidence/facts objectively in order to compare and contrast players.”

How much can you tell about an athlete’s future based on your testing?

“The scan cannot predict the future. Each individual athlete’s choices, day in and day out, have the biggest impact on their future.  The scan provides powerful statistical information regarding where an athlete compares to his counterparts, where his/her deficiencies lie, and if the athlete is at a statistical risk of injury. The most important part of this data is not the collection but the action based on the information. The interplay between the data, the coach and the athlete plays the biggest role in improving performance capacities (speed, strength, flexibility, endurance) and reducing injury risk in a statistically significant way.”

How much can injuries be reduced simply by knowing how a player moves and is built, as well as his prior injury history?

“We cannot provide a percentage. No one can. The biggest predictor of injury is prior injury, so any coach helping athletes must consider this. The Sparta Scan is so advantageous from an injury perspective because it looks at the root cause of injuries rather than the end result. Athletes tear their ACL — the real question is why? More importantly, (it’s better to understand) that one athlete tore his ACL because of reason X and the other tore it for reason Y. When we understand the components that underpin the injury from an individual perspective, we can address things more appropriately.”

How long has Sparta been gathering data? How has Sparta been able to head off injuries so far?

“Sparta has been gathering this information for a decade. More importantly our system is set up like a hospital. All of our domestic and international partners (NFL, NBA, MLB, English Premier League, International Rugby, U.S. Special Forces, universities) data feeds into one centralized database which allows unprecedented amounts of medical-grade data to be analyzed regarding athletic movement and injury potential. This depth of data is the key component regarding the statistical power of the Sparta Scan. Sparta’s partners have seen a savings up to $900k in one year of use with the system.

“The biggest obstacle to overcome regarding pro days and combine preparation is time. Since the dawn of time, coaches and facilities use strong educated guesses to address an athlete’s needs. The technology we use identifies areas of weakness that will inhibit performance and put you at higher statistical risk of injury in under two minutes. By improving said weakness, we improve an athlete’s speed, change of direction, strength, and injury reduction more efficiently than any other program in the world.”

 

Training Day: Dave Spitz of California Strength

For the next three weeks, agents, draft prospects and trainers will be in a frenzy as agents sign players and they, in turn, decide where the top prospects will train. We thought we’d spend some time introducing the people running the facilities where they train, telling their stories and illuminating the experts who are so important in the lead-in to the combine and/or pro day.

Today, we’re talking to Dave Spitz of California Speed, which is based in San Ramon, Calif.

Most of the top combine prep facilities are located in the Sun Belt. Have you found it harder to establish your business given that you’re in the Bay Area?

“The only challenge with having a combine prep facility in the Bay Area is that the cost of living is high, so housing athletes presents an interesting challenge. That being said, the benefits of training in the Bay Area far exceed the potential initial downside. First, we have incredible access to industry leaders in orthopedics, physical therapy, massage, and the latest in technological advancements. Second, the available food and nutritional options are second to none.”

Are speed players made or refined, based on the explosiveness they already possess?

“In the 8-10 weeks of preparation for the NFL Combine, it’s not so much the speed that we are concerned with as it is running the 40-yard dash, running the L-drill and running the 5-10-5 (short shuttle); these events are tests that we prepare our athletes for in a specific and methodical way. We have an overriding approach to block periodization that drives our NFL Combine and pro day results, but within the context of that model, we have a lot of room for customization based on the type of athlete that we receive in any given season.  Every athlete has a specific set of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that we need to hone in and capitalize on in order to bring out their best performance when it counts.”

What role does pure speed, in your opinion, play in the evaluation process? Can a player ‘run’ himself into a camp invite or late selection?

“The quantitative data that we collect as a result of the NFL Combine or pro day performance is valuable because it essentially confirms what NFL personnel see on game film, or, those performances can force teams to re-evaluate a player and spend time looking at additional game film. We liken the quantitative data of the 40-yard dash, L-drill, and 5-10-5 (short shuttle run) to an SAT or ACT test score when applying to a college or university. Essentially, if the athlete’s game film is their GPA, the NFL Combine or pro day scores are a metric that we can use to determine whether an athlete has, A, the requisite athleticism to play in the NFL, or B, has upside that an NFL team can potentially use. For example, one player we trained last spring, Khalfani Muhammad, ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash in what was a torrential downpour in 50-degree weather at the Cal-Berkeley pro day.  This performance gave the Titans a critical data point to utilize when considering Khalfani as a potential punt returner and deep threat (editor’s note: the Titans took Muhammad 7/241 last April).”

What’s the most common mistake speed trainers make in the combine prep process?

“The most common mistake is not having a consistent and cohesive strategy for success. The idea that a speed (only) specialist can (succeed) when talking about the 40-yard dash is a flawed concept. You need a closed system that accounts for the athlete’s treatment, nutrition, weightlifting, and linear and lateral speed training that are all married together in a comprehensive program designed to produce optimum results.  We have and always have been the ‘Apple’ of NFL Combine preparation, meaning that we control every aspect and component of the athlete’s training from start to finish.”

What’s the most common mistake draft prospects make in the process of selecting a trainer?

“Not getting on the phone and speaking with the trainer, but instead deciding to simply rely on what others say or decide on a facility based on marketing material alone. I would encourage anyone that wants to work with us to pick up the phone and speak with me personally, learn about our process and be prepared to commit to our training methods.”

Gridiron Tech with Rick Serritella: Nov. 27-Dec. 1

This week in Gridiron Tech, we take a look at some of the movers and shakers in the football industry, including one industry giant who decided to enter the eSports arena, a NFL quarterback who has invested in multiple technology products and a new platform for players to conduct their post-game press conferences.

FanDuel and beyond: About a decade ago, I was attending a Sports Business Technology Conference in New York City and bumped into a gentleman by the name of Nigel Eccles. He was quick to slide me his business card and his accent suggested that he surely wasn’t from the States, but he was eager to tell me about his great new fantasy football concept. The fantasy football market was in the midst of a boom and there were many competitors. I remember walking away from the conversation thinking that he just might have a fighter’s chance. Well, he had much more than that! There was one minor detail that he implemented, which turned out to be significantly different than all the others. His fantasy football game featured weekly competitions and the ability to re-draft a new team, or multiple teams each week. The website was called FanDuel. I mention this story because even though the market was extremely saturated at the time, Eccles had the vision to offer something unique to the consumer. This past week, at age 42, he stepped down as CEO of the industry giant so that he can pursue his next opportunity in the eSports arena. I’m confident that Eccles and his new eSports venture will be a sure bet.

Helmet gets help: With the type of momentum that Seattle-based Vicis is generating on the gridiron, you wonder why the high-tech football helmet, which was founded in 2014, has not yet been fully integrated into the NFL. The helmet is designed to mitigate the forces thought to cause concussions. This season, players from more than 15 NFL teams and 20 NCAA football programs are wearing the helmet. One of those players is Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who loves the product so much he decided to invest in it. Wilson participated in a $7 million round led by The Peregrine Group. Total funding in Vicis is now close to $50 million. This is not the first technology venture that has drawn Wilson’s cash. Just last month, he was part of a funding round led by Jeff Bezos for his new app, TraceMe.

#Verified Arrives: The Players Tribune has rolled out its new show #Verified, which airs exclusively on Twitter, Monday nights at 7:30pm EST. The program is intended to be a next-gen press conference that connects athletes directly with their fans and provides interesting commentary from a side rarely shown— directly from the players themselves. Twitter users can submit questions using the hashtag #VerifiedTPT. The first episode featured Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green. Other players scheduled to appear on the lineup include Mohamed Sanu of the Falcons and T.J. Watt of the Steelers. For more info, visit here.

*Want more football industry insider news? Be sure to visit our premium site, www.InsideTheLeague.com, which features NFL Draft breaking news, tips for new agents and information about the top combine training facilities in the country!

A Conversation with EA Sports’ Clint Oldenburg

In last week’s edition of our free weekly newsletter, the ITL Friday Wrap, we had the story of how former NFL offensive tackle Clint Oldenburg transitioned from the pro game to video games. Today, we expand on our conversation with Clint and ask him more questions about the future of Madden Football, of video games in general, and how they intersect with the game on the field.

By the way, Clint talks about how EA Sports and the NFL are engaging to make teams even better, and how that could take shape in the future, in this week’s edition of the Friday Wrap (sign up for it here).

What is the next frontier for video games as they intersect with sports, specifically football? Are we reaching the limits, or scratching the surface?

“We are just scratching the surface. Not only with video games, but with technology in general. As the technology improves every single year, the possibilities are really endless, be it video games, virtual reality, next-gen stats or something cool yet to be discovered. Where we’re at right now is a great base for teaching football fundamentals – many kids today know what cover-2 is because they play Madden.  The next frontier, I think, is virtual reality in both the teaching aspect and player safety aspect, as well as next-gen stats which are beginning to be used to track players’ health and athletic habits beyond the standard football statistics. I personally foresee these technologies being used heavily in the next 3-5 years and beyond as football starts to use more metrics following the path of Billy Beane’s Oakland Moneyball model.

How has your college football playing experience enhanced your work in the video game field? Do you see others deferring to you because of your on-field experience?

“This was the primary driver in my getting the position I was offered. I often tell people my college and NFL experience got my foot in the door, but my humility, communication skills and willingness to work as a team got the me the job. But to answer the question directly, yes, my football experience helps us make our game more authentic. There’s certain things I can see when I watch football that others cannot. For example, when a QB gets sacked on Sunday, commentary teams and fans are quick to blame the offensive line. But because I can see the protection scheme the team is trying to employ, I know almost right away if the sack was actually on the RB or the QB as opposed to the OL. I also tend to be the ‘go-to guy’ on our team about NFL rules & regulations, specific techniques being coached and how players think when breaking the huddle.”

Do you think we’ll ever see an interface that reads the video game player’s thoughts and takes away the need for a controller? 

“It’s on the horizon, but I can’t say when this will be a reality. There are a lot of discoveries happening right now around eye tracking and machine learning, but we’re not yet quite sure how much carry-over they have to video games, especially complex sports games like ours that offer a lot of different choices and strategic decisions. It would be short-sighted to say there’s absolutely no chance of that happening in the future, but there’s still a lot of work that has to be done to make those options viable in the immediate future. Fortunately, there’s a lot of brilliant people much smarter than me working in the software development industry that are going to solve all these problems and unlock an unlimited amount of possibilities for all of us as we move forward into the future.”

Gridiron Tech with Rick Serritella: Nov. 13-17

Welcome to Gridiron Tech, a weekly column highlighting the latest technology trends and how they’re impacting the football industry. In this edition, we take a look at how Sports Illustrated and ESPN are turning their attention to online video programming, plus a look at the newest NFL tourist attraction that is lighting up Times Square. 

SI dives into Amazon: Earlier this year, Sports Illustrated slashed its editorial staff in an attempt to shift its sports coverage from articles to predominantly video. Now, it’s launching an independent online video channel. Starting Nov. 16, Time, Inc., is launching Sports Illustrated TV (SITV) as its first-ever OTT channel available on Amazon. For $4.99 per month, viewers will be able to access 130 hours of movies, documentaries and original content programming. Original SITV shows will include, The Vault, SI: Under the Cover, and original weekly studio shows The Crossover, Planet Futbol and The Line. Oscar-nominated and award-winning sports filmmaker Mike Tollin, co-chair of Mandalay Sports Media, and 10-time Emmy winner Jonathan Hock have also been hired to produce two different sports documentary projects slated for 2018. The channel is available at Amazon.com/amazonchannels.

SportsCenter goes Snapchat: The jockeying for online digital platforms continues as ESPN has announced that its flagship show, SportsCenter, will now be available on Snapchat via their mobile app. The show will vary from its TV counterpart as hosts will dress more casually and program content will target the under 25-demographic. The move comes at a time where ESPN is trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding from losing online cable subscribers, while Snap Inc., struggles to meet Wall Street growth expectations since its initial public offering in March. “A year ago we launched Snapchat shows, and currently have 30 to date,” said Sean Mills, Snapchat’s Head of Original Content. “We really wanted to reimagine SportsCenter for a new generation, while still keeping the DNA that makes the show what it is. In today’s world, especially with the younger generations, the ‘mobile screen is the first screen,’ and we’re making a significant investment in producing content for this medium.” Daily episodes will vary in length between 3-5 minutes and are scheduled to air at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET during the week and 5 a.m. ET on the weekends. 

Times Square welcomes NFL Experience: If you live in New York or are visiting for the holidays, be sure to check out the much-anticipated NFL Experience, which opens its doors this week in a partnership with Cirque du Soleil, which produces and operates the attraction. The project took 12 weeks of careful planning before construction could even begin, and now is composed of a 38,000-square-foot attraction housed in a 39-story, mixed-use high-rise. It includes a 188-seat, 4-D movie theater with motion-capable seats and weather effects that simulate NFL experiences from the athlete’s standpoint. The space also hosts interactive exhibits and simulated training drills, including running back and tackle challenges and a touchdown dance photo op that can be televised on a 2,120-square-foot digital display in Times Square. While the attraction is designed to draw fans to its interactive displays and technology features, its main purpose is to capitalize on the 26 million visitors who pass through the tourist section of the Big Apple each year. NFL memorabilia and merchandise will be on sale, in addition to food and beverage stands.

*Looking for more football industry news? Check out InsideTheLeague.com, which features inside information about the evolving world of sports agents, combine training and NFL Draft breaking news.

Gridiron Tech with Rick Serritella: Nov. 6-10

This week in Gridiron Tech news, we take a look at how mainstream media outlets such as CBS and ESPN are preparing for the online streaming apocalypse, plus a breakdown of why Twitter has decided to take a plunge into the world of 280 character limits.

CBS goes livestream 24/7: In a move that is sure to be emulated by its competitors, CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves announced the launch of CBS Sports HQ. The new 24/7 livestream sports channel is expected to launch in the coming months and helps offset the alarming rate of cord-cutters while positioning CBS to compete for digital rights against rivals such as Amazon and Facebook. The licensing rights for obtaining exclusive sports content are soaring, which is why CBS Sports is preparing for what some are calling “the roaring twenties” of exclusive livestream sports packages. “What we see is an appetite of demand for consumers that want news and highlights of sports where we see a void in the marketplace,” CBS Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello. “They want it on their terms, on their time. So we’re going to give that to them. We think the demographic is very attractive for advertising.”

Networks strike new cord: Not sold yet on the Over The Top (OTT) sports movement? According to a new survey by the Consumer Technology Association, more households are cutting the cord in 2017 than ever before. Over 1.5M households have cancelled their cable subscriptions through the first three quarters of the year. That’s a significant number which is only expected to increase further next year. The report also states that nearly 70% of Americans now subscribe to some sort of streaming service. The new evidence is forcing companies such as the aforementioned CBS to change the way they do business and shift their focus toward online streaming. Want more proof? ESPN also just announced preliminary plans to launch a stand-alone sports streaming service in 2018. It will not stream the same live content it shows on cable TV. Instead, it opens the door of opportunity for sports leagues to license some of their out-of-market games, which MLB has already agreed to do. It seems like every major media outlet is now angling to be a major player in obtaining exclusive rights to more livestream sports packages.

Twitter doubles down: Get used to longer Tweets. The much-anticipated move by Twitter to double the maximum user character count from 140 to 280 has officially taken full effect. According to a company blogpost, nine percent of tweets were reaching the maximum of 140 characters. During testing of the new 280-character limit, just one percent of tweets hit the max. The move is designed to make it easier for people to fit thoughts into a tweet so they can say what they want and send Tweets faster than before, which is great for reporters.

Thirsty for more industry-related insider news? Check out Inside the LeagueIf you work in sports or aspire to work in sports, it’s a great complimentary service to help you continue to succeed in football!

Gridiron Tech with Rick Serritella: Oct. 30-Nov.3

Welcome to the Gridiron Tech blog here at Succeed In Football, where we keep tabs on how the latest technology is impacting the football world. 

Pack pays back with tech: In a partnership with Microsoft, the Green Bay Packers have invested $5 million dollars towards building a new “Titletown Tech” facility near Lambeau Field. The project is geared towards boosting the growth of startup tech companies in the community and helping revitalize the local economy. Green Bay CEO Mark Murphy acknowledged that the new facility would have a great economic impact in the region. “Titletown has gained a tremendously impactful partner in Microsoft,” Murphy said in a released statement. “Economic development is the key to our region’s future, and Microsoft, with its array of tools and expertise, will help grow new businesses as well as assist our existing companies to use technology to realize greater success.” The decision to move closer towards the technology era for the Packers, who are the only publicly owned NFL franchise, has been welcomed by the fans of Green Bay. With the emergence of eSports and technology in the NFL, it wouldn’t be surprising if more teams followed suit in years to come.

IOC considers eSports: Speaking of eSports, the rapid movement involving the sport of video games is gaining major momentum, not just in the football community but in the global sports world. Representatives recently met to discuss the role of eSports in future Olympic events and how implementing the “sport” could help generate increased interest amongst millennials. We have seen NFL owners such as Robert Kraft (Patriots), Stan Kroenke (Rams) and Jerry Jones (Cowboys) invest up to $20 million each for an eSports franchise. This past April, the University of Utah became the first Power Five school to offer a varsity eSports program. For those of you who thought playing Madden Football on the latest console was all fun and games, it may be time to change how we perceive eSports.

Big Ten embraces live streaming: The emergence of online streaming content deals has been well documented in this column, as we have examined the impact of the AmazonPrime TNF package. We have also seen the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA strike deals on the collegiate level. Add the Big Ten to the growing list of NCAA conferences looking to capitalize on livestream licensing rights. The announced partnership with FloSports is a four-year deal that will grant FloSports the exclusive right to livestream over 1,000 events (that otherwise wouldn’t be televised) on their subscription-based online service. While many of the B1G football games are televised, the conference intends to make other sporting events more accessible on FloSports, with channels such as FloWrestling, FloTrack, FloVolleyball and FloHoops. While livestream deals initially took some time to catch on, you can be sure that every sport, conference and event will have some sort of online content licensing agreement in place by this time next year. Failure to do so would mean ignoring an entire new revenue stream that is currently exploding.

Do you work in football? Are you an aspiring football agent or scout? Get an edge on the competition at www.InsideTheLeague.com!

Gridiron Tech with Rick Serritella: Oct. 23-27

Last week here at the Gridiron Tech blog, we examined how five NFL franchises have become early adapters to augmented reality (AR) technology. In this edition, we learn that yet another team has incorporated AR into its stadium, plus we take a look at how virtual reality (VR) played a role in Syracuse’s upset of Clemson and an update on the latest Amazon Prime figures for the Thursday Night Football livestream package.

Niners embrace AR: San Francisco has redefined the meaning of a souvenir cup. Earlier this month, in a partnership with ampm convenience stores, the team began selling augmented reality souvenir cups at Levi Stadium. Fans who download the 49ers team app are then able to hold their mobile device over the cup and watch San Francisco Super Bowl highlights or player videos. In addition to the content available via the cups, fans also receive 49-cent fountain refills at participating ampm locations all season long. It’s the latest attempt by organizations to keep fans more engaged when they attend a sporting event. This initiative incorporates new technology while also collecting fans’ personal info so the team can entice with future offerings.

Virtual Reality goes Orange: After knocking off the defending champion Clemson Tigers, the Syracuse Orangemen can also stake claim as the top football program in the nation to utilize virtual reality. Those lucky fans unable to attend the game and storm the field after the win can now relive the moment in VR. That’s because the game was captured by cameras in full 360-degrees, which gives fans a complete view of everything occurring in the stadium, as if they were sitting in the front row. In 2015, the Orange partnered with EON Sports to implement VR training for their players. Starting quarterback Eric Dungey has been using the technology for additional preparation. “It’s basically like going through practice again,” Dungey said. “I love going through practice. I love practicing so it’s basically like doing that all over again, but it’s easier on the body. You know, you kind of just get mental reps.” The extra practice paid off, as Dungey totaled 339 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over the Tigers.

Amazon Prime results are in: We have previously chronicled the TNF livestream experiment by Amazon Prime in this space and wanted to provide an interesting update on its reach and impact. Through four simulcasts, the e-commerce giant has an average minute audience (AMA) of 374K viewers with an average viewing time of 51.25 minutes, according to this report. Each game reached viewers in more than 180 countries. Amazon continues to be aggressive in the marketplace, acquiring the video rights to ATP tennis in UK and audio feeds for Bundesliga soccer games. The next move for the NFL could be to offer the TNF package as a multi-year deal, which would be very appealing to the Amazon brand. We will continue to provide updates on the latest livestream deals as they develop.

Be sure to check back at Succeed In Football for more Gridiron Tech reports and news on how to get ahead in the football world. If you already work in football and want more industry insider information, check out www.InsideTheLeague.com.

Gridiron Tech with Rick Serritella: Oct. 16-20

Gridiron Tech is a weekly feature here at Succeed In Football that takes a look into how technology is influencing the football landscape. In this edition, we investigate how NFL teams are utilizing new fan engagement technologies to help enhance the ‘stadium experience’ and creating software aimed at attracting loyal fans.

Augmented Reality next for NFL: The Pokémon Go brand put augmented reality (AR) on the map last year, which prompted the NFL to ask itself, how do we incorporate the latest phenomenon into a user experience? Mobile developer Yinzcam and digital agency Float Hybrid may have the answer. They’ve created software that enables fans to ‘virtually’ paint their face with their favorite team’s colors or put on an NFL helmet and take a selfie, which can then be shared on social media instantly. The Broncos were the first team to offer this on their team app at the end of last year. This season, the Texans and Eagles have also partnered with the mobile developers, according to a statement. “We are hyper-focused on leveraging innovative technologies to create memorable moments that drive emotional connections with consumers,” Keith Bendes, Float Hybrid’s VP of marketing and strategic partnerships, said in the statement. The new AR software has drawn an official sponsor in Bud Light and has since caught the attention of other NFL teams. It would come as no surprise to see all 32 franchises with this offering by next season.

“Fan Cams” meet football: NFL teams are constantly exploring for additional ways to supplement the stadium experience and make it more interactive for the fans. In today’s “Look at me” culture created by social media, it’s crucial to keep fans entertained and involved. Boston-based company Brizi recognizes that, which is why it created robotic cameras capable of taking a fan’s picture on demand. With Brizi’s technology, a fan using a smartphone can control the robotic camera in the venue and have a picture taken that can be shared in near real-time. Thus far, the company has partnered with the NBA, U.S. Open and Australian Open. However, due to larger stadiums, Brizi is still trying to figure out the logistics of partnering with NFL teams. The solution seems to be using more than one camera. Brizi claims that 74% of fans who attend a sporting event snap a photo, and while several teams currently offer panoramic fan shots, they usually aren’t available until the next day. The ability to take a picture or video on demand and instantly upload it to social media is an enticing stadium enhancement but also a way to increase revenue. The camera also records user data of each fan that requests a photo, which can then be used later on to send them future offerings such as a game ticket or merchandise.

Intrigued by working in football? Check out InsideTheLeague.com to learn more about the benefits and risks of becoming a NFL agent or scout, plus the latest trends in NFL combine training, along with other football industry-related news. Signup for the free ITL newsletter here!