One of the NFL's biggest marketing challenges is how to lure fans to attend live games when they can sit at home and watch for free on TV.
NFL Gives Ticket Buyers A Peek Inside the Locker Room
To give fans something inside stadiums they can't get at home, the NFL is mandating all teams install TV cameras in their locker rooms this season, NFL Exec VP Eric Grubman said at the 2013 IMG World Congress of Sports in Naples, Florida today.
According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, here's how it will work. The footage will only be of the home team and be shot pregame and at halftime. The NFL's individual clubs will have the option to use the video on replay screens (and in team apps), when, where and how they see fit. Mr. McCarthy said its up to the league's 32 clubs to decide if they want to sell sponsorship opportunities around the footage to advertisers. So we could see, "Inside the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room. Brought to you by…"
It will also be up to clubs themselves to decide if they want to provide audio and video or just video, Mr. McCarthy said. If they do provide audio, clubs will be careful not to reveal game plans. So fans may or may not see or hear a rah-rah speech from a coach. "You won't see a coach say, 'We're going to come out in the second half and do an onside kick,'" Mr. McCarthy noted.
Currently, during half time and pre-game, stadium-goers see NFL highlights and commercials from sponsors.
At the IMG Conference sponsored by SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal, Mr. Grubman said the move is all about giving fans who pay for tickets something extra to keep them coming to live games.
Say goodbye to homer instant replay operators as well. The NF is also mandating that replays be shown in-stadium for all important plays, including fumbles and interceptions.
Said Mr. Grubman: "Now it doesn't matter if you want your technician to favor the home team. You're not going to have a choice. Why? Just listen to the fans."