SBD/January 24, 2014/Franchises

Capitals Look To Enhance Fan Experience With Technology Such As Google Glass, Skybox

Google Glass will allow fans at Verizon Center to access data without looking away
The Capitals are looking to Google Glass and the Skybox app to "give fans an immersive spectator experience," according to Neil Greenberg of the WASHINGTON POST. DC-based APX Labs, which "started building 'smart glasses' for the U.S. military before Google Glass was launched," has "adapted its technology" to create Skybox. The app is "aimed specifically at patrons of pro sporting events." APX Labs CEO Brian Ballard said, "When you look at the fan experience, a lot of the common complaints of going to the stadium is you miss out on a lot of things you can get in your living room. And when you go to the game, people are constantly caught looking at their phone, pulling up social media, pulling up game stats and kind of get disconnected from what’s going on. So we thought this was a great opportunity to counter that and give people that same level of data and experience they get at home at the game." Greenberg notes Google Glass and Skybox allow fans at Verizon Center to "access information such as stats, in-game highlights and instant replays from their seats in the arena -- all in real time -- without having to look away from the game." Greenberg notes the Capitals may decide to "include the glasses as part of a VIP package or make them available for rent, but right now the team is in the beta stage itself." The WiFi at Verizon Center also "must be improved before the glasses can be used throughout the arena." But even more "cutting edge than the stats and highlights package is how this could impact the game-watching experience for the hearing impaired." Ballard: "(Monumental) asked if we can broadcast closed captioning in any language in real time right to the fans, and we thought that’s a brilliant idea" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/24).

SEEING IS BELIEVING: In Sacramento, Matt Kawahara notes the NBA Kings will "outfit a handful of team personnel with Google Glass and broadcast live video taken with the futuristic glasses to fans in a variety of ways -- on the video board inside Sleep Train Arena," over Friday's local TV broadcast and "across social media." A team spokesperson said that among those wearing Google Glass will be "members of the Kings’ dance team, an announcer and mascot Slamson." All told, "about a dozen of the glasses will be deployed." Kings President Chris Granger said, "It’s about giving fans a unique perspective. We’d like our fans to be able to experience what it’s like to run through the tunnel like a player, what it’s like to be near the player huddle like a sideline reporter is, what it’s like to be a Kings dancer on the court." Kawahara notes CrowdOptic "employed the same technology the Kings will use" on Friday night at several Stanford Univ. athletic events in recent months. Stanford Senior Assistant AD/Communications Kurt Svoboda said that those included "a basketball game and a football game at which non-athletes wore the glasses on the field, in the press box and in postgame interview sessions, with the video then shown in-venue" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/24).
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