Networking News

NFL CIO Says League Improving Fan Experience With Technology

Meghan Ottolini
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They may not be able to ensure a playoff bid or stellar quarterback rating, but the NFL is taking big steps in improving the fan experience with technology. CRN sat down to a one-on-one interview with NFL Chief Information Officer Michelle McKenna-Doyle.

McKenna-Doyle is certainly focused on bringing big data analytics and mobility into the forefront of the NFL experience, but she wants to ensure fans that she knows the real reason they show up on game day, whether at the stadium or in front of a screen.

"We want to make sure the end-game experience is not about technology -- it’s about the game on the field, the experience you get being a fan," she said. "So the first thing is that technology has to be very complementary to the actual game itself, not distracting."

The NFL has utilized big data analytics to show fans routes around stadiums, as well as restroom locations. It also has improved the experience outside the stadium with realtime streaming red zone coverage and improved video engagement.

Extreme Networks is the official Wi-Fi provider to the NFL, and McKenna-Doyle said the vendor has been instrumental in building up a necessary technology infrastructure across the league.

"We hear from our fans that they don't want to be disconnected when they're in the stadium," she said.

The NFL is increasingly using big data analytics to track fan behavior and feedback about content and programming. "The biggest challenge is being able to make insights from it. So that takes people, it takes investment and knowledge."


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