RSS Feed for this Blog
RSS Feed for all TBA Posts

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HorseVision: Could It Work?

When I walked into the Jim Kelly Club on Sunday for the Bills-Jags game I received an unexpected surprise. I had received a letter earlier in the week to seek out the FanVision kiosk in the Club upon my arrival to receive a FanVision unit. I did not research anything about what this handheld device was all about, but was pleasantly surprised to find out (1) that I was one of a select group of season ticket holders that would receive it for free; (2) that it would be free for 3 years (upon which time I would be charged $5/game thereafter) and (3) that it was easy to navigate.

I sat down with the Space Gal at our seats and started playing with the unit (after a short tutorial at the kiosk) and found that it had all kinds of different features. The new interactive concept is being introduced at 12 NFL stadiums (see NY Times article) and the Big House (University of Michigan). Basically the unit will work for six hours within the confines of the stadium. Its signal comes from a UHF-dedicated broadcast center within the stadium which is staffed by producers who deliver exclusive event content directly to the handheld.

Some of the things I was able to do with the unit included:

1) Load up my fantasy team. (The unit would vibrate every time one of my players scored).
2) Watch the CBS pregame show.
3) Watch the CBS feed (even though the game was blacked out in Buffalo) and listen to the local Bills radio team.
4) Check Stats of all of my fantasy players.
5) Check Game Stats for the Bills game.
6) Watch either the Packers-Redskins or Bears-Panthers games.
7) Watch the Red Zone (RZ) Channel (this was super cool)
8) Watch the game from any of the CBS camera angles (just had to toggle between the feed and 50 yd line cam, endzone cam, etc.)
9) Watch replays of the previous play.
10) Probably more stuff that I haven’t figured out yet.

Where the unit really came in handy was seeing replays, fantasy information and keeping me occupied during the long time outs and commercial breaks that occur over the course of the game. It was a pretty cool experience, although I was worried I wasn’t paying enough attention to the Space Gal, but she seemed to be enjoying it just as much, watching key plays on the RZ channel together. I also thought it could render the crowd into zombie status (in the glory days, the Ralph was one of the loudest houses in the league) while everyone stared at their units.

So what does this all have to do with a horse racing blog?

This could work as a very cool and interactive function for horseplayers at the track. The units cost $200 each, but I could see tracks buying a number of units and renting them out to patrons (as they only work within the confines of the track) for an easy payback. Currently NASCAR and the PGA (it was used at the Ryder Cup) both have tested Fan Vision in both venues. Those two sports make a lot of sense, as in NASCAR you only see the cars as they zoom by you, and on a golf course, you can only see one of the eighteen holes at a time. It would be great for those who wouldn’t have to strain to see a TV monitor or watch on the big screen from a distance, it would be in the palm of your hands. If your seats are blocked from a large portion of the track (like my seats on the clubhouse turn at the Preakness this year) you can follow it on the handheld as they run down the backstretch. To boot, think of the statistical information that could be at your fingertips. They could load the past performances on the unit and also let you wager right on the unit at your seat. You could toggle between the simulcast feeds from the different tracks. One of my pet peeves at the track is not having the “will pays” at my fingertips and having to just catch the tote board or monitor at the right time.

What would you pay to have one of these at the track? You already pay in the neighborhood of $3-$7 for the program or form and you could get much more (video feed, PP’s , probables, simulcast at your seat, etc.). In addition, you could flip on TVG or HRTV to hear what the “pros” are saying (umm….well maybe not). Rent one for $10?

Of course, the dilemma would be that the track would want you to use their ADW or track account and not an outside one which could present a logistical problem. But think of the possibilities of this unit at the track even without the wagering vehicle. I find it burdensome to carry my iPad to the track (wondering if they have WIFI), wherein the rented handheld would be turned in at the end of the day, or it has a strap to wear it around your neck if you purchased one to use at the various tracks around the country.

I think this may be something worth pursuing if it was thought out properly. There’s money to be made here, also. The issue as always is, in this sport: Would everyone play nice?

1 Comment:

The_Knight_Sky said...

Interesting gadget. The PGA and LPGA would surely benefit by using this FanVision thingie.

The possibilities to enhance the live horse racing experience are endless.

But I am afraid this will not get off the ground at the racetracks due to the prohibitive costs of buying the devices and utilizing a UHF broadcast frequency in place of a Closed Circuit system.

As it stands many racetracks are having financial difficulties and are unable to convert to simple HDTV format. NYRA - this means you.

The difference between racetracks compared to The Ralph is the tracks have in place plenty of monitors (or should). But I'd like to see a FanVision gadget be used for those who are immobile or just plain lazy to get the scratches and other Equibase Changes, as well as the results.

When two races go off at the same time. We can press the ol' rewind button.

Right now we have plenty of people who do not purchase trackside seating in the current simulcasting era. Perhaps it should be packaged with the seating plans.

Every bit helps if you're promoting live horse racing and not slot machines.


blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online