Giants' Early Tech Adopters Now Reaping the Benefits
In the midst of one of the best times of year to be a sports fan, the ties between professional sports and technology may leave some mystified. For San Francisco Giants’ fans, however, the tie may be perfectly natural.
As captured in a recent Market Watch report, this innovative team is currently competing for the World Championship in the World Series. A win would be the first for the team since moving from New York in 1958.
Many of the team’s investors and managers have made their fortunes in technology and it stands to reason they would extend this capability to their team. With its close ties to Silicon Valley, the Giants began using tech much sooner than other teams. And this early adoption appears to be now producing benefits.
The team’s stadium – which they own – is completely wired and wireless allowing fans to get the most out of the game; even if they need to check in at work or finish off a proposal. While the park’s design is much like that of the iconic stadiums, such as Chicago’s Wrigley Field, modern flair and technology are abundant. The 42,000-seat stadium-by-the-bay was the first in the sport to deploy wireless technology. In 2004, the team offered fans continuous WiFi access during games.
Intel (News - Alert) Corp., used the stadium as a venue to launch its Centrino chip – one with built-in wireless technology. The stadium also proved a prime location for some crazy parties during the dot.com boom.
While the team has a current roster of rookies, free agents and even older players, tech has played a part in the creation of the team. The Giants rely on technology to improve scouting processes for new players and enhance player performance.
The team won’t talk about its technology use in scouting procedures as they consider it to be one of their “secret sauces,” yet they feel this system is one of their key competitive differentiators.
An in-house development team for the Giants has created software for the team, while all other teams use off-the-shelf systems that incorporate the same data used by every other team.
On the road, scouts use video cameras to capture potential players and feed the video of promising players back to others at the ballpark. The team itself relies on digital video for replay and to study performance. Now, the biggest challenge for the team is the abundance of users on their access points for the stadium’s WiFi (News - Alert). The team added two cellular mobile units near the park to boost the local network for the World Series, yet the load is still producing spotty connections. For now, the demand is outweighing what the team can provide, simply due to the abundance of iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys and more that are being used in and around the park.As soon as the team wins the Series, they can worry about improving their network to support the abundance of fans and others who simply want access: a small price to pay for the added attention and revenue pouring in after this winning season.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf