Over the past couple of weeks, one of the biggest topics of discussion around the NFL has been the game experiences for fans, and how the league can draw more people from their living rooms to the stadium. The league has talked about increasing WiFi and cellular coverage within stadiums, adding microphones to the referees during replays and to players throughout the game, and allowing teams to use the scoreboard and public address announcer to rile up the crowd. But, are any of these worth someone leaving their home to sit in the crowd at the game? The editors around SB Nation recently discussed exactly what we think will improve the NFL stadium experience.
Our discussion brought up the WiFi issue, with Joel Thorman, from SB Nation's Kansas City Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride, stating:
The WiFi issue should be the top item on the NFL's plate right now. It's a problem at Arrowhead Stadium, too. I can't really use my phone for tweeting most of the time. The NFL doesn't really gain any points with the fans for implementing it (which they are) because we already expect to be able to use our mobile devices anywhere we go. A football game is no different.
But, we also talked about things like a designated family section at the stadium, standing room only areas, increased tailgating experiences, and a debate over the use of the PA system to get fans to yell.
But, maybe the most important change the NFL can make is the one the NFL will never consider - lowering ticket prices. Brad Wells, from SB Nation's Indianapolis Colts blog, Stampede Blue, said:
To go to an NFL game, just one game, will cost the average Indianapolis household $500. That's just for one, any old game. That's an average, regardless of the opponent. That number doesn't fluctuate too much whether the team is 12-0 or 0-12. Decent seats at Lucas Oil Stadium are, on average, $150 a pop.
I really can't think of any enhancements that justify that. Better instant replay? WiFi in the stadium? Those are nice, but they still aren't worth $500.
SB Nation's founder and editorial director, Tyler Bleszinski added:
I also think that's exactly WHY the NFL has become the dominant television sport. First there are only eight games to go to ... second, I've always heard that watching the game on TV, especially in the HD era, is better any way (better bathrooms, better food and much, much cheaper). Every sport is catering to the wealthier live crowd any way and it's a sad state of affairs, but it's also just reality. I wouldn't be surprised if we have a proposed new stadium coming the future that's NOTHING but luxury boxes. Much easier to sell a $250 K season to a corporation than try and squeeze blood from a stone.
I got into the conversation as well, stating:
I agree with Brad. The number one improvement that the league can make is getting ticket prices down. Why are college games so energetic? Because they have students who get in free in most places -- or at a deep discount if not totally free. Meanwhile, the NFL is too busy selling seats to corporate types. Corporate CEOs don't make noise.
You can check out the entire discussion by clicking here, and let us know below what other changes you think could help out the NFL game day experience.