SBD/April 4, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Opinions Vary On NFL's Decision To Place Cameras In Home Team Locker Rooms

The idea of cameras in home team NFL locker rooms is "probably a good idea, considering that notoriously secretive coaches would probably have strenuously resisted it as a suggestion, even though teams can use the video at their discretion and are unlikely to reveal any significant strategic details,” according to Judy Battista of the N.Y. TIMES. The push toward “more video during the game, though, speaks to the league’s larger concern that the quality of television broadcasts, and the quality of the televisions themselves, may prompt more and more fans to stay home instead of going to games, thereby avoiding high-priced tickets, traffic jams and harsh weather” (NYTIMES.com, 4/3). However, Panthers LB Jon Beason said putting cameras in the home team locker room is “absolutely crazy.” Beason said, “There is no way you should put cameras in the locker room. That’s where we change.” NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano noted, “They’re not going to put you up on the screen with your clothes off.” NFL Net’s Warren Sapp told Beason, “I don’t think that we will put you in a position where we’re exposing you, put you in a bad light. We just want to make the fan experience a little bit better.” However, NFL Net’s Heath Evans said coaches with the “old-school mentality” are “probably just rolling their eyes at their owners for ever signing off on this” (“NFL Total Access,” NFLN, 4/3).

WILL THERE BE APPEAL? NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said that use of the cameras is “mandatory” and “no team will be exempt from airing footage.” USA TODAY’s Mike Foss wrote, “Pulling the curtain back on the most intimate of team settings is an interesting move by the NFL.” As TV broadcasts “continue to improve, along with the quality of in-home televisions, the league is forced to invent new incentives to drive crowds to games in person.” Foss asked, “Will the promise of locker room cameras convince fans to pay up and head out? It's a gamble made previously by the XFL.” He continued, “Is this the best remedy [NFL Commissioner Roger] Goodell and the NFL can offer to fans who would consider spending their disposable income on a ticket?” When TV broadcasts “already show player interaction before, during, and after games, a view into a locker room does little to inspire excitement for the stadium experience” (USATODAY.com, 4/3).
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