||09-10-2011 06:59 PM
NFL orders clubs: Show fantasy stats at stadiums this year
Fantasy enthusiasts should go nuts.
By Michael McCarthy, USA TODAY
A dream come true for fantasy football players attending live NFL games? Or a sell-out move that could tick off sports purists?
Starting with tonight's Green Bay Packers-New Orleans Saints season opener, the NFL is directing all 32 clubs to display real-time fantasy football stats at all home games for the new 2011 season, says league spokesman Brian McCarthy.
Previously, it was up to individual clubs to decide if they wanted to show player stats from out-of-town games on their scoreboards rather than focusing on their own. Not any more.
The NFL is reaching out to millions of fantasy players who feel somewhat cut off while attending live games. Many fantasy players already use mobile devices to keep in touch with how their players and teams are doing.
But the NFL wants fans at live games to feel as plugged in as they would be on their couch at home. So NFL headquarters will be shooting all teams' real-time fantasy stats -- and directing them to post on video boards for fans in the stands.
The reason is simple: In today's struggling economy, the NFL is worried fans will watch games for free at home where they have access to the NFL RedZone channel and the Internet rather shelling out cash for tickets, parking, food and beers at stadiums.
"We know we have to continue to do more to keep fans coming to our games," McCarthy says. "We're looking at ways to further replicate the at-home experience in the stadium."
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