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Exclusive game audio could be the key to keeping stadiums full


For years, we’ve been suggesting the use of NASCAR-style access to on-field communications as a way to give fans who attend NFL games something they can never get at home.

The recent report from Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal regarding the comprehensive changes that the league is making and/or considering contains what could be the first step toward giving fans plenty of reasons to emerge from their man caves.

Per Clark, the league plans to create smartphone apps “that could let fans listen to players wearing microphones on the field.”

“Could” is the key word, since it implies something less potent than “will.” Later in the article, however, Clark writes that "[o]wners have granted permission for the league to place microphones on certain players so that fans can hear on-field commentary via an in-the-work app that would distribute raw feeds.” Which sounds far more potent than “could.”

It’s a good start that could lead somewhere great. Hearing the raw feed of the things players say to other players is one thing; having access to what the coaches are saying to the quarterback or to the defensive player with the green dot on his helmet could make for the kind of unique in-stadium access that fans would flock to experience.

And once the technology is in place to deliver the content, the costs will be extremely low.

Persuading the coaches to do it will be a separate issue, and it won’t be easy. Maybe the owners can just send them golfing right before the vote is taken on the measure at the annual meetings.