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Ryan McVay

Sports. Sports are what brings friends together and pushes them a part for a moment. Sports gives us a reason to have friends over, or go to our favorite sports bar. Sports entertain us. Sports make us feel emotions from sadness, to pure joy, to hate, heck even to love. When the coronavirus pandemic took sports away from us, that was devastating.

With sports finally back on television, their is finally some hope. But what is weird (to me at least) is seeing virtual people in the stands when MLB games are on FOX Sports. Also those cardboard cutout of fans freak me out. Things that still are weird, especially when I'm use to seeing real people.

The football season is quickly, and hopefully, approaching. The NFL announced that stadiums that allow fans to NFL games will require everyone to wear a mask. Some stadiums (for now) can't even let fans in even if they wanted. States like New York have mandates in places that barely lets players walk in. You also have to consider fans who don't want to risk it to get the biscuit. People who take a yearly trip to see their favorite team, season ticket holders, first timers, and so many fans who would buy a ticket can't or won't be able to watch games the way they want to.

During a pandemic, how does televised sports from NCAA women's volleyball to Monday Night Football to the Olympics give you a chance feel like you're there in person? We need a few things:

  • Cameras (a lot of them)
  • A website
  • Someone with a lot more money than me and willing to take my idea

Here is my concept on how watching sports from home could be better. Basically, you setup a camera in each section of a stadium (I told you it was a lot of cameras), or in general sections of the stadium, and have each camera live stream the game onto the website. The camera allows you to watch the game from that section. If you wanted to watch the Cubs play at Wrigley Field in the first row behind the backstop, you could do that.

You'd hear every sound, see every play and not be interrupted by commercials, depending on where you sit. I knew you were watching for the catch.

The only way to maintain all of this is to obviously make money. The teams want to make money, the website, cameras, streaming service, and all that costs money. Well, if it's commercial free, how would this stay afloat?

That would depend on where you wanted to watch from. Say you selected a nose bleed seat way at the top of Kinnick Stadium in the northeast corner. Watching the game on your television would look like this:

Seat Geek

Not the best view, but people pay money to sit up there and have an experience. Watching through your screen doesn’t give you the full experience, that’s why there viewing from up here would cost little to no money to watch the game. If you wanted to watch the game on television as if you were in person from the front row at Kinnick, your view would look like this:

Rate Your Seats

Better, right? If you wanted to watch the game “from there” on your television and have it be commercial free, you would have little to no “free time of watching” that game. Let me paint a better picture for you.

Let’s say we have all the money, cameras and capability to do this. And let’s say that Kinnick Stadium has 3 levels to it. Level 1, level 2 and level 3. Level 1 is the lower bowl around the field. Level 2 is the middle part of the stadium. And level 3 is the upper part of the stadium, minus the press box. Let’s also say an average football game is 4 hours.

Here is how pricing would work and the amount of free viewing you would get before having to pay to view:

Level 3 Seat:

  • First 2 quarters (or 2 hours) free, $50 to watch the rest of the game (including overtime)

Level 2 Seat:

  • First quarter (or 1 hour) free, $100 to watch the rest of the game (including overtime)

Level 1 Seat:

  • First 15 minutes of game is, $200 to watch the rest of the game (including overtime)

I just made up the prices and times but you get what I’m going at here. You’re also thinking of a way around this and how you can watch the entire game for free. Grabbing another laptop to extend your time wouldn’t work. If you want to continue to watch after your 15 minutes is up at the Level 1 Seat, it wouldn’t matter because the stream across the server would time out after 15 minutes. Sure, you could go up to level but your view wouldn’t be as good.

With it being the year 2020, I feel like this technology should exist by now. It should be as easy as picking a seat like this (seriously click here, it’s super cool), pay for it, and watch a game virtually. Maybe it would be cool to have a chat feature to talk to “other people in your section.” I know ESPN sometimes allows you to watch for free on their website if you want to watch the above-the-head camera that follows everyone around. That is cool but a little nauseating.

If you, or someone you know in the MLB, NFL, NCAA or wherever has the money and/or wants my idea, just make sure you give me a small cut of the profits.