By Dillan Straight
A couple weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to see the Chiefs vs. Vikings game thanks to a kind co-worker. Upon starting the morning with a tailgating meal fit for a Snorlax and a helping of hop-induced beverages that would bring a smile to Gary Busey’s face, we made our way inside Arrowhead. Passing by the tributes to players of the past and the fan with an entirely authentic looking headdress (upvotes, bro) we made our way into what we felt was to be a great must-win for the Chiefs.
Anyone who watched the game already knows the outcome, while the Chiefs walked away with a win, it wasn’t the most enjoyable game from the beginning to end. The only thing it left you wanting was a Succop jersey to pay tribute to the field-goal party that went down that day as Succop made it rain with long distance antics.
Halfway into the second quarter, I’m already struggling to keep focus on a single Minnesota offensive drive as Donovan McNabb goes three-and-out multiple times in a game where neither team could get its offense flowing. Moving my eyes across the stadium, I notice how empty a stadium once touted as the “loudest crowd in the NFL” lacked the precise voices that once fueled such a bold statement. Making my first trip to buy an overpriced metal-water-tasting beer, it started to dawn upon me how much the “Fan Friendly Game Experience” has changed dynamically in the past years.
Thanks to the works of iPhones, Direct-TV and NFL Highlight-I mean RedZone — the world of watching live sports in-person is starting to dwindle. While football may be the flagship for the most popular sport in America by leaps and bounds the size of Walter White’s bank roll, the common fan today now has a choice in paying to see his favorite games of the season. While it used to go without saying that seeing Priest Holmes or Paul Pierce in their natural element in-person was the best avenue, the rise in technology has changed that. Who wants to pay a cool bill to see a Chiefs game when you could watch it in crystal clear definition from your HD television and have the ability to catch other games during downs and commercial breaks? Financially, it makes sense – and this is where the NFL and stadium owners need to take note.
The one request I would love to see for those willing to purchase season tickets is a way to reward fans. At the end of almost any down you can look to your left or right as multiple fans in the stadium tilt their heads downwards in a choreographed fashion to face their smart phones and check their fantasy scores. While KC does an effort of showing the fan’s top plays from different games through the NFL, the experience for Fantasy Football fans could be improved. It’s not as if there isn’t money there for Fantasy Football, it’s now exploded in recent years as the games transformed from its “rotisserie” league into a billion dollar business with more than 20 million fans. There just needs to be more opportunities offered, show a continuous bar for recent plays, or go for the most extreme in your own personally integrated in-game fantasy update app where fans can keep in the know. Hell, get the guys selling peanuts and Coors Light to shout out whenever someone faces a game-ending-injury and I’d be happy!
For the music world, it’s no secret that what is considered “popular” and “mainstream” in today’s music is completely run by the crowd of young girls in the world with a YouTube account. It’s no different for the sports realm, behind any 20+ points and ESPN highlight earning performance a players stock only raises higher. I’m not trying to sound like a non-appreciative fan, but stadiums could do a better job in getting rises from fans by integrating features for both fantasy football junkies and other luxuries. Make an app that allows fans in Arrowhead to talk amongst one another, use it to pull fans together in completely group-ran cheers on questionable calls, have contests that give away seats for next week with voting panels and “Rate That Drive,” anything to swing back that intensity Arrowhead used to be so coveted for.
I’m just a fellow Chief fans like many others, rooting for a historically riddled franchise and looking to make sure my game ticket investment goes that extra yard in making the new-era fan experience that much more enjoyable. Otherwise I can save the price on those two beers in the stadium and just enjoy a 12-pack of Green Flash on my couch, dressed in the comforts of my Tamba Hali jersey and sweat pants to witness Dwayne Bowe score in flawless HD.
I think its past time for an official booth review, NFL.
Contact Dillan Straight, sports editor, at email@example.com.