SBJ/Feb. 7-13, 2011/In Depth

FanVision eyes smartphone expansion

FanVision, formerly Kangaroo TV, takes direct aim at replicating the at-home sports viewing experience at the stadium. Using a portable device roughly the size and weight of a Nintendo DS, FanVision units offer alternate camera angles, statistics, fantasy information, audio feeds, the NFL RedZone channel, out-of-town games and other content.

Now owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, FanVision units were used at last year’s Super Bowl at Sun Life Stadium in south Florida and now are present at a dozen NFL stadiums. Ross last fall sought to boost distribution of FanVision among his fellow NFL team owners by offering 5,000 units free to the other 31 NFL teams. Clubs accepting that initial offer included 2010 playoff teams the New York Jets, Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks.

The company additionally is making inroads into the collegiate sports market, signing deals to get FanVision units into schools such as the University of Miami and University of Michigan for use with their football programs. More recently, the technology was used at the BCS national championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium, which also is home to the Arizona Cardinals, another NFL FanVision client.

Fans typically pay about $199 initially to obtain the FanVision handheld unit and to cover the first season’s games. Subsequent seasons are substantially less expensive since the fan has already paid for the hardware. The devices incorporate an advertising model that teams can sell against to generate revenue.

Now under development is a version of FanVision that works on users’ smartphones. The mobile application would represent a slightly streamlined version of the FanVision technology, while its dedicated units will likely remain the flagship version.

— Eric Fisher

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