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Mobile apps make college sporting venues more like home

Stanford's new iCardinal smart-phone application lets students and sports fans bypass long lines at concession stands

Mobile apps make college sporting venues more like home
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Colleges have struggled to install Wi-Fi networks in football stadiums.

Stanford University’s athletics department released a smart-phone application this fall that might help the stadium experience compete with the ever-improving living room experience.

The crystal clarity of big screen high-definition TVs, the boom of surround sound, and the convenience of a kitchen a few steps away—all advantages of the couch-bound sports fan, who doesn’t have to fight circuitous lines for nachos and a soda, and who has a perfect view of the field from start to finish.

Stanford unveiled two mobile applications that could add convenience to an often inconvenient day at the school’s sports venues.

The Stanford GameDay Live app and the iCardinal app give fans real-time replays, live game statistics, and crowdsourced video that lets fans download game footage from their seats and share it with others who have downloaded the app.

And for the Stanford faithful who want a hot dog and a cold drink, the GameDay Live app lets fans place orders using the Bypass Lane. A fan orders her food, pays with a credit card, and waits for a text message saying the refreshments are ready for pick up.

The Bypass Lane, said Kevin Blue, Stanford’s associate director of athletics, has proved popular with fans who don’t want to miss a critical play while cramped in line at the concession stands.

“It can be very inconvenient to order food and miss a portion of the game,” Blue said, adding that the stadium applications were an outgrowth of the high-profile technological innovation Stanford has become known for. “This is a way … to demonstrate leading edge thinking and progress. Stanford takes a lot of pride in that. It’s about upholding the spirit of technological leadership, especially on the internet, which is really the foundation of our university over the past 20 years.”

The university has yet to market the iCardinal and Stanford GameDay Live apps, and the school doesn’t know how many students and sports fans have downloaded the apps. Blue said the mobile apps would be improved during Stanford’s basketball season.

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