The lunch spread laid out over two tables at the back of the Fox broadcast booth in Cowboys Stadium is standard man-cave, working-lunch fare—a pile of roast beef sandwiches, various chips and dips, a few trays of cookies, a full chafing dish of gourmet mac-and-cheese. Then the sushi arrives. It’s a generous helping, with a fist-sized serving of wasabi carefully sculpted to look like a football, laces out.
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A minute later, as if on cue, Troy Aikman walks into the booth, Yogi Bear sniffing out a picnic basket. “Do we have makeup?”
“Hey, your sushi’s here, Prince Valiant,” says Joe Buck, Aikman’s broadcast partner since 2002.
Aikman laughs, but it’s not exactly a joke, since he ignores the rest of the food. It’s 2 p.m., an hour and a half before game time. He takes a small plate of sushi and wasabi to the front of the booth and eats it with chopsticks while staring out at the field.
New Jersey police captain Edgar Martinez says Kenny Britt is "still not cooperating with police" in regards to a weekend shooting and stabbing, and they are still trying to locate the receiver.
"At this point he is still not cooperating with police. So whatever statement he puts out is false. We are asking anyone who has info of his whereabouts to contact us, and that includes the owner of the Titans. Anybody who has information on where Kenny Britt can be located, please contact police at 201-547-5460,"
The good news for IT pros in less-glamorous organizations than the New England Patriots is that some problems are universal. The Pats are slated to face the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, aiming for their sixth trip to the Super Bowl in 12 years, but VP of content Fred Kirsch is more worried about building loyalty programs, managing social media, Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, and wrangling with the powers that be (in this case, the NFL) about shaking loose permission to deliver exclusive content to customers.
The CIO Mobility Innovation Summit, held Jan. 15 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., brought together IT pros from all the major Boston teams to talk about the intersection of technology and sports. Hosted by Enterasys Networks, which beat out unnamed rivals to win a multimillion-dollar contract to light up Gillette with a WLAN capable of servicing 70,000 fans, the summit highlighted the hard reality faced by many of today's franchises.
Jonathan Kraft, president of the New England Patriots and co-chairman of the NFL's Digital Media Committee, put it bluntly: "Live viewing is at risk, unless you make it more engaging, special and unique."
A panel including Kirsch, VP of content for the Pats and a leader of the WLAN effort; Jay Wessel, VP of technology for the Boston Celtics; Lorraine Spadaro, VP of technology and e-business for the Boston Bruins; and Heidi Labritz, director of business applications/IT for the Boston Red Sox, offered perspective on how these franchises plan to improve the fan experience. "The metric is butts in the seats," said Labritz.
With NFL attendance diving across the country, it will be interesting to see how the league tries to entice them into the stands.