Google Glass taking fans closer to the action

Jul 01 2014, 10:08 IST
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Your favorite team is playing for the title, and you are in the middle of the field. Your favorite team is playing for the title, and you are in the middle of the field.
SummaryYour favorite team is playing for the title, and you are in the middle of the field.

Your favorite team is playing for the title, and you are in the middle of the field.

Google Glass is slowly becoming more common in sports as teams and broadcasters try to bring fans closer to the action. The American football team Philadelphia Eagles will test the Internet-connected eyewear for in-game use, and a company with a key application for the technology says it has secured a new round of financing that will help roll out its Glass program to sports, entertainment and other fields.

''When I talk to teams and ask them about what technology are they looking at, what technology are they keeping track of, the two answers I mostly commonly get are Google Glass and Snapchat,'' said Eric Fernandez, a founder and managing partner of SportsDesk Media, a fan analytics and digital media activation company.

The futuristic eyewear was known as ''Project Glass'' when it was introduced by Google in a video and blog post in April 2012. The US company started selling the $1,500 glasses to a select crowd later that same year, but it only recently became available to the general public.

The use of Glass in sports has progressed from trendy athletes dipping their toes in the water to a tool for teams looking to draw fans to arenas and stadiums, and then keep their focus on the action, instead of their omnipresent smartphones and tablets. It comes with endless revenue possibilities, ranging from sponsorship deals for the new content streams to a possible attendance boost for teams with empty upper decks.

''I think the fan experience one is the one that's really hitting hard,'' said Eric Johnsen, the business development lead for Glass at Work, ''and the performance line people are dabbling with, that's really interesting.''

Punter Chris Kluwe used the eyewear in training camp last year to take fans inside the practice of Oakland Raiders, an American football team in California. Another team let its key player wear the glasses at Super Bowl media day and Roger Federer used one when he hit with former tennis star Stefan Edberg during a visit to Google's campus.

But it is the big-picture applications that offer intriguing possibilities for teams and leagues concerned about attendance in the 21st century, when flat-screen TVs and rising prices at sporting events have made the in-home experience even more appealing.

The 2014 Know the Fan Report, produced by Sporting News Media,

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