Will the technology take precedence over sport. Yes. May be not. But the most high-tech sports league is going to redefine the experience of watching sports. American Flag Football League founder Jeff Lewis is going highly hi-tech to showcase flag football.
“If you’re going to respect the fan, then you’re going to use technology,” said Lewis. “You’re going to use it to speed the game up. So if you can call something within the game and get it right and keep it moving, why wouldn’t you do it if you can? What we’re going to do is we’re going to speed it up. We’re going to respect your time. We’re going to play a football game in under two hours, OK?”
The AFFL is scheduled to hold 7-on-7 flag football pilot games on June 26-27 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose. Players will be the first to experience the technology as the June 26 game is scheduled to be played in an empty stadium so that the game management and broadcast can be tinkered with to see if there are any “good ideas that are bad ideas”.
Then on June 27, fans can buy $10 (Rs 650) tickets with the net proceeds going to the a coaching charity. After the exhibition, it can be streamed on the AFFL website or the Kiswe app.
Instead of the usual flag football, the AFFL has what it calls “e-flags.” SMT has a proprietary player- and ball-tracking technology that includes a flag pull alert system to instantly alert officials through a custom app when and where the flag was pulled on the field. The OASIS platform designed to determine forward progress and foster consistent officiating uses ultra-wideband to track positional data and is accurate up to four inches, according to SMT business development manager Dino Hall. The officials will have these tools in order to spot the ball and keep the game moving.
The AFFL will also have broadcast streams that feature an array of SMT solutions that go beyond the clock-and-score graphics and virtual first down system for a league that divides the field into four 25-yard boxes. Broadcast graphics that can help the dedicated announcer analyze the game include receiver routes that can be charted thanks to data from the OASIS platform.
SMT’s CameraTracker system will also work with the stadium’s SkyCam aerial camera so that the broadcast will have the view from behind the quarterback as the primary game camera. Virtual graphics such as that first-down line would be inserted from that overhead view.
And for the in-stadium and broadcast experience, there’s the GO Clock system that caters to AFFL rules that once the ball is snapped, the defense must wait two seconds to rush while the quarterback has four seconds to release the ball or cross the line of scrimmage.
SMT can synchronize the stadium ribbon board so that it turns green when the defense can rush. And on the broadcast the GO Clock can be virtually imposed in real-time underneath the quarterback like in a video game in a circle that changes colors and shows how he’s running out of time before the rush. Sensors in the balls can tell if the ball is spinning by the four-second limit.