February 25, 2013

Where will technology take us?

Filed under: Sports — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:53 am
Supplied via Google Images

Supplied via Google Images

Some of sports greatest minds were gathered for a panel discussion on ‘How Technology is Transforming the Business of Sport’. Within the panel were Jonathan Kraft, John Collins, Richard Brand and Chuck Pagano. Kraft is the President of the New England Patriots, Collins is the Chief Operating Officer of the NHL, Brand is a Sports & Media Attorney and Pagano is the Chief Technology Officer for ESPN. Moderating the panel was Forbes staff member Mike Ozianian. Major topics included rights fees, facility management, signage, the incorporation of 3-D and video games.

Opening up the discussion was Pagano, as it related to facility management with broadcasting. Pagano suggested that more cameras could be added on the field of play to further immerse fans with their favorite teams. No such examples were given, however Pagano made it clear future objectives would encourage compliments to the facility itself to heighten the fans experience.

Adding to the broadcast side was Kraft. Kraft suggested for sensors to be used on players. The sensors would draw data on biometrics; the identification of humans by their characteristics or traits. Information on how fast the player runs, how fast they throw and how much G-Force is used during a contest would increase the amount of information spectators have, thus further increasing the experience. Allowing for this increased information would be Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and imaging technology.

Changing the topic to signage was Brand. Brand relayed how technology has allowed for more advertisements to be displayed during an athletic contest. With the incorporation of electronic and virtual signs, eye catching advertisements can be portrayed on the scoreboard of the facility.

Building on this was Collins. When it relates to rights fees, technology can increase communication and interaction. Social Media, a big-time influencer of this, has the ability to increase traffic at facilities. Due to the portability of technology today, facilities are trying to draw fans away from their home with the hopes of landing them in seats at the facility. Having fans at the game physically is better for teams than having fans watch the games at home.

Rounding out the panel discussion was Pagano, Collins and Kraft. Pagano referred to the incorporation of 3-D, while Collins and Kraft referred to video games as being an influential technology transforming the business of sports.

3-D television was in its implementation stages in the winter of 2010, Pagano said. This is when ESPN and Pagano started toying around with the idea of 3-D televised sporting events. Pagano said it’s still a work in progress since 3-D cannot be shot the same way normal television is, but with Ultra HD coming out in the not so distant future, Pagano and ESPN are still trying to use this new technology to bring sports fans something they have yet to see.

Collins and Craft referred to video games as being influential in transforming fans. Fans now learn the rules and players of the game from a console rather than playing or watching. As stated by Collins, “Video games are one of the biggest connections the young demo has with sports.” It even has young high school athletes demanding more sophisticated offenses and defense of their coaches since the Madden video game divulges much of its game-play on realism.

To see the panel discussion, which was aired on the YES Network, please follow the link below.



June 28, 2011

From Quarterback to Cop; The Manning’s do it all

Filed under: Sports — Giorgio Varlaro @ 3:52 am

Supplied via Google Images

Since all NFL players have more free time than their used too, some have taken advantage, like Eli and Peyton Manning, starring in a new Direc TV series ‘Football Cops’. The title reveals the exact premise of the entire show. Both Manning brothers pose as former football players who turn into cops.

Peyton plays as Mike Tahoe and Eli plays as C.J. Hunter. Peyton’s character was living the dream as a big-league quarterback until a personal tragedy brought him back to the mean streets of his childhood. Tahoe (Peyton) vows to bring those who wronged him to swift justice with his biggest rival Hunter (Eli). Both Tahoe and Hunter grew up together as orphans in a home for wayward boys. Each overcame the odds, and became successful sports stars. Now both are the only hope for the rigged streets they originally called home.

The show, which has aired three times now, has had mixed reviews. Maybe fans aren’t used to seeing each longer than 30 seconds, as each have made quite a name for themselves in television ads. Peyton even had the chance to star on Saturday Night Live in March of 2007.

“Nobody escapes the long arms of the law” is the slogan of the show.

Maybe these two athletes should stick to their day jobs, but you can’t blame them for trying something different with the NFL still trying to come to agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Watch ‘Football Cops’ at

May 16, 2011

Global Entertainment fails again

Filed under: Sports — Giorgio Varlaro @ 9:16 pm

Supplied via Google Images

Within the last decade, professional sports franchises have complained for the need of state-of-the-art facilities to bridge the gap in their growing deficits. The incorporation more seats, better sight lines, and more amenities would seem to attract more fans, however attendance is still down for most sports franchises.

Taking advantage of the boom in state-of-the-art sports facilities has been Global Entertainment. Global Entertainment has persuaded nine cities (Youngstown, Ohio, Hidalgo Tex., Wenatchee, Wash., etc) to invest in new facilities, guaranteeing increases in financial projections. However, Global Entertainment has not been able to establish the correct business plan to create a flourishing business in each of the nine cities a facility was built.

Recently, Global Entertainment was taken to court in Rio Rancho, New Mexico because of its inability to pay the bills at the Santa Ana Star Center. The city fired the company and sued to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since that time, Rio Rancho has had to use money from their state budget to keep the arena afloat. New management has helped, but Rio Rancho is still suffering from their decision to build a state-of-the-art facility.

The arena consumes nearly seven percent of the city’s $53.8 million budget, thus workers have been furloughed, spending on parks has been curtailed and a reserve fund has been drawn down. An additional $550,000 was asked for by management at the Santa Ana Star Center due to increasing operational costs. Whether the arena will get that needed money is still in question.

What the future holds for Rio Rancho and the Santa Ana Star Center is uncertain. However, more situations like these are popping up with more professional sports franchises not being able to create a profit. Two prominent sports franchises, the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers, are facing the same situation as Rio Rancho because new state-of-the-art facilities are not creating a revenue surplus like projected. It has caused a decreased brand image and created uncertainty within the sports world.

Web site:

March 4, 2011


Filed under: Sports — Giorgio Varlaro @ 2:50 am

When looking at Peter Kaufman and Eli Wolff’s peer-reviewed article “Playing and Protesting: Sport as a Vehicle for Social Change” both authors wanted to look at four widely embedded dimensions of sport that have strong implications for a progressive and activist political orientation. Those dimensions were Social Consciousness, Meritocracy, Responsible Citizenship and Interdependency. Each not only tells why athletes use activism while participating in sports, but gives examples of which athletes chose to and why. Of the five mentioned dimensions, the one which stood with me the most was Interdependence.

Interdependence implies much more than working together on a team to reach collective goals; it also implies a level of reliance on others to help the athlete achieve her or his desires (Kaufman P., & Wolff E., 2010). Because athletes are so used to having a big support group (reliance on others) which makes most of their decisions in everyday life, it’s sometimes doesn’t allow them to realize the power they could have in relation to activism. Athletes are always used to being told what to do. From their high school days it’s their parents. When they go to college it’s their coaches. When they’re in their professional sports careers it’s their publicist, coach, agent, wife, teammates and so on. All the athlete really has to do is make sure they are ready for the upcoming playing season.

In the peer-viewed journal it states, “Anyone doing something hard whether you’re an athlete on a team, an activist, or someone running for governor, you have to be supported. And I think that’s probably one of the reasons why it’s so hard to be an activist and I know that’s the thing I keep running into again and again” (Kaufman P., & Wolff E., 2010 p. 169).

I truthfully do not like this statement. There is a difference between a governor and an athlete, a big difference. One will have to make decisions on policy which could be detrimental to a society. This person has a group of people who make very important decisions which relate to more than just activism. In relation to athlete, most of the decisions that they make (when they actually do have to make a decision) relate to minor things like paying bills, buying a house or if they want to go to the gym in the morning.

You can also look at the difference in education. I’m not saying that all professional athletes aren’t educated, but most of them had it very easy in their college years. Facts show that Division I athletes spend more time perfecting their athletic skill rather than develop their mind. Because they do not have to same cognitive thinking abilities that governors do, it’s hard to put these two types of people in the same example.

So when looking at athletes as a whole, and as to why they do not participate in activism, I believe that it’s because they really do not care for the most part. Athlete are so in-tuned to what will make them more money, they do not care if they might have the ability to make a difference in people’s lives that are less fortunate. The only time most athletes will do anything is if their publicist tells them to do it. But even in this case, the publicist is only making the athlete do something for his/her betterment. It’s like treating yourself like a brand. You want to be the most recognizable and have a good public perception because in the end, it will make you money.

The Conflict Theory and Sports

Filed under: Sports — Giorgio Varlaro @ 2:50 am

In dealing with the Conflict Theory, which views society as a system of social structures and relationships who are shaped ultimately by economic forces, we run into a few issues. The biggest issue is the fact that the society is shaped around money, wealth and economic power. This should sound familiar, and it is, because we deal with it in our capitalistic society today.

Since all of us are familiar with capitalism, I will pose the question. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

In my opinion, I don’t think it is such a bad thing. I believe that a good portion of social life is driven and shaped by economic factors. If people are spending money and investing, we in return have a better economy which creates jobs. Are jobs a bad thing? I didn’t think so. So with more jobs in our community, it gives individuals like myself an opportunity to make an impression in an organization of my liking. Does this guarantee that I will climb the latter every year and eventually become the CEO….not a chance. This is maybe where inequality rises, which is one of the Conflict Theories weakness, but without this mindset I wouldn’t even have a position with the company in this particular set of circumstances.

Back on topic now. In our society, everything is shaped around money. Money gives you power. Money also gives you a piece of mind. For example, everything that we do in our life costs. Most of us graduate students have to pay rent, utilities, cell phone, car insurance, student loans, etc. And I’m not even getting into other extraneous costs that come along the way. Do I thank our capitalistic society for this? Yes. Has this made life harder on me sometimes? Of course. What it has taught me though is more valuable than anything that you can learn in the classroom or college setting. Textbooks could never teach me the life lessons that our capitalistic society has. It has taught me how to provide for myself, and along the way, made me pursue options (college) that would hopefully make my life easier in the long run. It has made me think about the future plans and not the right now. If that’s not important, I don’t know what is.

I’m sorry if I’ve rambled a bit in my assumptions, I was just trying to do something different from the Functionalist Theory and the discussion of Bill Bradley’s “Values of the Game”.

Please class, let me hear your thoughts. Steer me in the right direction if I’m wrong.

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