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The Packers are also cautiously exploring opportunities to weave cloud computing into their day-to-day operations. The team uses Microsoft CRM Online to run its fan registration system, and it also uses the cloud-based antispam that's part of the NFL's integrated Microsoft Exchange network.
"We're slowly picking and choosing cloud as the application and business need warrants," Wichlacz said. "But we are, from an infrastructure standpoint, still in house, and I don’t see us pushing that in the near future."
The Packers are steeped in NFL tradition, and so the team's renovation of Lambeau Field prior to the 2003 season didn't include a ton of technological bells and whistles. At 46 feet wide by 23 feet high, Lambeau's video screen is one of the smallest of any NFL stadium, although the team is planning an upgrade in 2012.
Wichlacz is currently overseeing the installation of a new audio system at Lambeau Field that will feature clearer sound and speakers distributed throughout the stadium bowl.
Technology has certainly had a beneficial impact on the NFL but the game is still won and lost between the lines, Wichlacz acknowledged. "For coaches, the game really hasn't changed at all in terms of how they analyze opponents and plan for upcoming games," he said. "Where technology has changed things is that coaches can ask more questions and do so much more analysis than in the past, with the help of video, computers and databases."
Video is a particularly useful tool for NFL teams: Coaches rely on game and practice video to make strategic decisions, and advances in digital video and networking are helping them get this data more quickly than in the past. At the stadium on game day, television crews are starting to utilize fiber optic camera interfaces, Wichlacz said. "That's the next revolution from a stadium perspective and we're starting to see it now."
The Packers' practice facility in Green Bay includes a high speed network connection to the team's main data center, Wichlacz said. "Our video guys shoot practices just like they do during the game, and since they're plugged into the network, the video is recorded on the video servers in our data center," he said. "So when the coaches leave practice and go back to their offices at the stadium, they've got the practice video right there."
Next: Packers' Team Mentality Includes IT