A mere century ago, a tin board was used to write up the score of the football match and clubs who had this board were considered rich. Football venues of today are far more advanced but even at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, there are innovations that still possess the power to amaze us as fans. Most of these are related to innovative technology but there are improvements that are related to the managing of the stadiums as well. In any case, these are quite literally game-changing improvements that are influencing the world’s most popular ball game.
In-seat TV screens
We are used by now to see a TV screen in the back of the seat in front of us on an airplane or a bus but there is a similar trend in football as well. Of course, no club is reckless enough to install a TV in every single seat because there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of them. However, the seats that cost more in the VIP section, for instance, mostly have this feature. This way, fans can watch plays from several angles, they can see every play in slow motion and they can replay certain parts of the game. No matter how much this might seem convenient, we are doubtful that this improvement will proliferate any time soon.
Banning alcoholic beverages
One change in football stadiums that is not related to technology will not make fans happy. The ban on selling alcohol on the premises of a sports club had long ago been enforced by European clubs, but FIFA is also joining the ban with zero-alcohol policyfor the upcoming World Cup to be held in Qatar 2022. This means that fans will not be able to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages in and around stadiums. This might not be an improvement in the eyes of many but it is still a milestone in the history of the game that will change the cheering your favorite national team or club for good.
Strong Wi-Fi signal
So far, Wi-Fi routers have been placed at many sporting venues but as there is a large number of fans trying to go online during halftime, often wireless internet was slow or not working at all. Marketing directors have realized how offsetting this can be and there is global effort to make the Wi-Fi signal stronger and more reliable, as mobile phone operators have joined in on the search for the ultimate solution. Anyhow, we can expect that the future will bring more stadiums with strong Wi-Fi signal so fans could keep track of other scores live.
Floodlights that used to be installed at sports venues were massive consumers of electricity. In some cases, the utility bills were too high for local clubs, so many of them had to borrow money to foot the bill. However, the appearance of sports field LED lights was a real game-changer as they are energy-efficient, so even amateur football clubs can afford them. They use up to 40% less energy and the maintenance necessary to keep them running is almost 90% less than the one for incandescent light bulbs. Furthermore, LED lights are regulated using a simple phone app and they instantly turn on, as there is no warm-up period.
Not every seat might have a TV inside it but they are admittedly becoming more comfortable by the day. You can hardly find a stadium in which fans seat on bare concrete in the top 5 European leagues, as most chairs are made from plastic if nothing else. Some clubs have padded these seats so they are softer and the padding act as insulation during the winter months. The ever decreasing cost of having the chairs padded means that we will see more and more stadium with improved seating areas. Also, the trend of personalization will continue, as owners of season ticket could count on a seat with their name on it, quite literally. Just one example of a club that allows you to name a seat is Dunfermline Athletic F.C. competing in the Scottish Championship.
More info on video boards
Are you under the impression that those HD video boards are getting bigger and bigger in size? In fact, it is not only their size and picture quality that are growing but the number and type of information they display. Apart from replays, spectators have a chance to see for themselves how video assistant referee (VAR) technology works in modern football. Furthermore, the halftime show can be spiced up with fantasy stats that are displayed on the big screen for the fans to follow.
It is the cumulative effect of all the improvements listed here that will change the adventure of going to a football game in the near future. Whether these high-tech and organizational changes kill the passion for football or merely revive it, it is up to the fans to decide in the end.