4th Quarter

Sports. It’s that simple
  • TSA Precheck Will Now Let You Get into Football Games Faster

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    TSA’s Precheck now allows you to get into NFL games.  Crazy, right?  Idemia has started making deals with NFL teams to use Precheck as a “fast pass” for stadiums, starting with the San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium and the New York Jet’s MetLife Stadium.  I repeat – crazy, right?  You can even enroll on the spot and use that pre-screening the next time you fly.  Levi’s stadium will also use Idemia’s biometric scanning to “assist in fan experience and security” in the near future, although the company hasn’t elaborated on what that means exactly.

    I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around this.  Not because I don’t understand how this works, but because the two systems seem totally separate.  Yes, you’ve got security checking people into the stadium as well, but I guess I see the TSA Precheck as something “serious”.  And maybe I don’t view stadium security in the same light?

    What’s neat about the stadium use is that it’s extremely convenient.  If you’re late for a game, you don’t have to panic quite so much.  But at the same time, you’re handing over your personal information just so you can attend a football game.  With more and more security breaches on our hands, is this even worth it?  If enough people sign up, Precheck could lead to others being disadvantaged or being treated with suspicion.  Some might wonder why you don’t have Precheck.  Do you have something to hide?  Which is likely not the case, but it could create that kind of suspicion among security personnel and even other people attending the game.

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    I am suspicious about this use.  I think it’s an interesting way to get people into a stadium, but I wonder if the stadium needs that much information from you.  If I buy tickets to a game online, I’m not providing that much data about myself.  Maybe my address, name and some kind of credit card or banking information.  I certainly don’t have to provide my date of birth or my social security number.  Which is why I’m wondering why it’s even necessary?

    When it comes to flying, the TSA wants to know who you, where you’re going and why.  And I can understand needing that information.  But I can’t state this enough – you’re just going to a football game, why does this even matter?

    I’m not one to spout off conspiracy theories all that often, but I am going to in this case.  Is it possible that the TSA just wants more information on everyone?  In order to qualify for TSA Precheck, you have to jump through a lot of hoops.  Which makes me wonder if this is just a gimmick to get more people enrolled in Precheck.  On the other hand, Precheck is great as you don’t have to wait in line at the airport.  But it’s not worth it if you don’t travel or fly a lot.   Which is why I think there’s more to this than just an easy way to get into a football game.  Maybe I’m being too hard on this and not accepting it for what it is, but something doesn’t seem right with this one.

  • Rockets, Warriors and Cavaliers Owners Buy Into League of Legends Series

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    League of Legends is a major force in the esports industry.  With more than 100 million players around the world and tournaments held regularly, League represents the new normal for professional gaming.  It even sets the esports standard.  ESPN is reporting that the Cleveland Cavaliers have grabbed a spot in the North American League of Legends Championship Series (LSC).  They join the Golden State Warriors, whose owner Joe Lacob spent $13 million on an LCS franchise last week.  The asking price for a new spot in the championship is $10 million.  FlyQuest, the team backed by Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens, will be shelling that out for a permanent place in LCS next year.  It’s also being reported that the Houston Rockets will join the League.

    Last week, the New York Yankees acquired a stake in Echo Fox, the eSports franchised owned by NBA alum Rick Fox.  The deal forms part of a bigger partnership with Vision eSports, giving the Yankees a stake in an “ecosystem” of eSports properties, including a stats company and a content production outfit.  Which is a great example of where esports is heading.

    What is League of Legends exactly? And how will these teams make it so successful?  League of Legends is easily a video game juggernaut worldwide, with millions of fans devoted to its competitive scene.  Prize pools and audience sizes for major League of Legends events seem to grow every season, they are just getting into mainstream sports.  There’s been a big shift over the last couple of years as professional athletes and other big names in the industry have started to invest in their own esports teams.

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    This past winter, League of Legends made a deal with the Big Ten Conference.  A major deal, to the tune of $2.6 billion dollars.  Last year, FOX, ESPN and CBS split the rights to broadcast a number of Big Ten games on their network.  The deal with League of Legends was for the Big Ten Network to broadcast its Championships, and they did.  Giving League of Legends some serious airtime on some of the United States’ biggest sports networks.  Which is a huge deal considering, don’t you think?  I mean, sports and video games typically don’t see this kind of crossover.  And certainly not on this scale, but it’s happening.

    We wrote a post a few weeks ago about how sports is considered an RPG.  So it kind of makes sense that an online game, like League of Legends, is getting into sports.  It’s a huge, largely untapped market – until now.  I think the challenge will be getting people who play video games to see that sports are an RPG.  The other challenge is going to be getting people who are into sports to see that video games can enhance the experience.

    The two audience groups seem to diverge greatly.  Or at least they seem to. But they do have something in common – they both take themselves out of their own lives for a moment to experience something else.  Watching a basketball game on TV doesn’t automatically mean you’re a gamer. But it does suggest that you are interested in something to escape into.  And I would argue the same for gamers.  I honestly think that this is going to grow in ways that we can’t even imagine right now. And with teams like the Cavaliers and the Warriors on board, this is something we should all be watching out for.