As sports facilities around the world invest millions to improve in-stadium technologies (including Wi-Fi, Beacons, and giant HD screens) all to increase fan engagement through the use of handheld devises, Old Trafford has taken a step back and said “not so fast.”
In a recent report from BBC, Manchester United has banned tablets and laptops from home matches. At first glance, this seemingly goes against the popular trend that has swept professional sports. From the NFL’s newly opened Levi’s Stadium (San Francisco, CA) and improvements to EverBank Field (Jacksonville, FL), to Football of a different sort at the Adelaide Oval in Australia – these stadium upgrades connect and allow fans to engage through the use of technology while attending live events.
The ban focuses on tablets, both large and small including iPad minis, with an obvious attention to larger electronic devices – laptops. ManU fans can take solace that smartphones are still permitted – as long as their dimensions are smaller than 15cm by 10cm (5.9in by 3.9in).
Although instituted as a security precaution, the ban could actually solve a problem before one starts. As connectivity at stadiums improves, the last thing we all want is someone setting up a mobile office, with a fax and printer included, at the 50 yard line!