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NFL's CIO looks to improve fan experience with in-stadium tech

Lauren Brousell | Jan. 22, 2014
NFL CIO Michelle McKenna-Doyle talks about plans to encourage NFL teams to deploy Wi-Fi and analytics engines in their stadiums. The goal is to improve the in-stadium experience, to allow fans the ability to use their mobile devices to consume more football content and share the experience.

You've announced the use of Extreme's analytics engine so what's on your wish list for how you want to use that?
I'd love to use it to do predictive analytics: What are leading indicators of things people are starting to do and early adopters are starting to do? What are things that pop on the screen that we haven't thought about yet? When data can be predictive is when it's most valuable.

We'll spend a bit of time to see if we are meeting needs and the next goal is to predict what fans are going to want to do. Do we continue to invest in club specific apps? Or do we embed ourselves in every other cool app?

The NFL will get an influx of information from the analytics engine, but what will the benefit be for the fans?
Loyalty programs are amazing when people have a compelling reason to share their information with us. We can take lessons from the best in world on loyalty. [Now] we have someone leading our centralized marketing database for fans. Every club had it [separately] but now we have it centralized.

What are some specific ways the NFL can reward fans?
Everything from making parking easier, to [dealing with] the things they complain about, such as ordering food, virtual wallet, specialized video, exclusive opportunities like kicking field goals and [visiting] the sidelines.

The Super Bowl is coming up in two weeks and it will be the first test of the in-stadium Wi-Fi. What are you hoping to learn from that?
At the Super Bowl, there are more media and connectivity challenges than any other event. We see spikes at kickoff and halftime and patterns on traffic but no patterns on the device [itself] or what types of devices. We want to learn so next year we can provide a more social Super Bowl. My goal would be [make it] the most social live event.


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