Courtesy of NFLDraftBible’s Ric Serritella, here are a couple of notes related to new technology and innovations that are being used by NFL and college teams and their fans.
QBs meet VR: As virtual reality continues to trickle into mainstream sports and figures out its identity, behind the scenes, it has become a great learning tool for quarterbacks. Since the new NFL collecting bargaining agreement in 2011, the difficulty for quarterbacks who want to develop during the offseason has increased. So how do some teams overcompensate? With virtual reality.
Roughly 25% of the league subscribes to STRVR technology, which allows players to have the ability to put on a headset and instantly have a 360-degree view of the field. The extra mental reps allow them to break down different coverages and blitzes without having to put on a helmet. Such technology is even being introduced at premier combine prep facilities, such as IMG Football in Bradenton, Fla.
“It’s a new tool, there’s probably seven or eight teams using it [VR],” said Bears head coach John Fox to reporters last month. “With our newness at quarterback, whether it’s Mitchell [Trubisky], Mark [Sanchez] or Mike [Glennon] it’s just getting reps that other guys don’t.”
At the GeekWire Sports Tech Summit in June, San Francisco 49ers president Al Guido spoke to the technology’s importance. “How do you reduce the hits but yet not reduce the amount of time someone can practice their craft? So knowing someone can put a VR machine on and get real, live, what in football we call ‘reps,’ without taking those hits, was, we thought, advantageous,” he said.
One of the most impressive players during the preseason has been 49ers rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, who swears by the new VR technology and says he reviews over 1,000+ players during a single week using the headsets.
“You only get limited reps in practice, but you’re able to watch through virtual reality, essentially every rep in practice – all of Brian [Hoyer]’s and Matt [Barkley]’s and go back and watch mine, and kind of play things out in your head as you watch practice,” Beathard told NBC Sports Bay Area.
SOCIAL MEDIA INVADING THE LIVE-STREAM MARKET
With the evolution of how we digest media, the live-streaming network Stadium is out to meet consumer demand for more live-stream sporting events on social media.
In consecutive days, they announced a partnership with both Facebook and Twitter to stream exclusive broadcasts of college football games. The move creates tremendous new opportunity for online advertising revenue, while shaping the course of the live-stream broadcast industry.
Stadium will carry a 15-game lineup with nine Conference USA match-ups and six games from the Mountain West Conference. Custom-produced broadcasts will introduce uniquely coordinated production assets and social elements to create a first-time-ever viewing experience. Elements include: live curated chat experiences from well-known and well-respected football personalities; a dedicated social production team and correspondents; and ongoing integration of real-time social elements provided by the competing schools.
In addition, Stadium hopes to drive traffic back to its linear network WatchStadium.com, where sports fans are able to watch an additional 2,500+ college games. This lineup includes football, men’s and women’s basketball, lacrosse, and volleyball events from conferences such as the Mountain West, West Coast Conference, Patriot League, Conference USA and Southern Conference, the company says.
Look for this to become a growing trend in all sports. In a recent Morning Consult poll, 37% of adults said they’d be more inclined to watch college football games if a social media company such as Facebook were to live-stream them. The number for the NFL was even higher at 47%, with 60% of men and 58% of people aged 18 to 29 more likely to watch a football game on social media.
The network will run 24 hours a day, broadcasting live and on-demand games, highlights, classic games, as well as original and daily live studio programming. These streams will be available via the @WatchStadium Twitter account, as well as Stadium’s own website and the streaming service Pluto TV. The action kicks off Saturday with Miami (OH)/Marshall at 6:30 p.m.
*Be sure to check back for more technology news and how it is changing the football landscape!