SBJ/April 4-10, 2011/Facilities

Lockout stymies FanVision's plans

Count one more victim of the NFL lockout: getting FanVision, the interactive, hand-held media device company owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, into every league stadium any time soon.

The company, which added its first 12 NFL teams as customers last season, projected in November that all 32 clubs would use the device in 2011. Now, given the lockout, the company has put its NFL expansion plans on hold.

“At this particular time right now, we are in a holding pattern because, candidly, teams are cutting back and furloughing people,” said Carl Peterson, the former NFL general manager who markets the devices in football for Ross. “We think it is best suited to hold off.”

In March 2010, the NFL gave Ross a platform at the annual owners meeting to promote FanVision, which he had recently acquired. It fit into NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s mission to enhance the in-game experience. The devices allow users to view replays, find stats and watch other games.

Teams pay no startup cost for the devices. Those expenses, paid by FanVision, include infrastructure installation in-stadium. FanVision then shares in advertising fees.

Peterson said the 12 teams that used the devices last year signed three-year deals.

Instead of pushing forward with the NFL, Peterson now is busy in college football. He has met with officials and athletic directors from the ACC, SEC and Pac-10 Conference, and he is setting up meetings with the Big Ten.

Last season, FanVision devices were used at three BCS games, including the national championship game. FanVision also has been active in NASCAR and Formula One.

Ross last week at the IMG World Congress of Sports talked about the devices being used in each of the big four sports. Peterson said talks were ongoing with baseball but he declined to elaborate.

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