The American spirit prizes responsibility. This has been proven true in the wake of recent threats where we’ve been quick to act on ostensible wrong doing. If you have been anywhere near New York City since 2003, you have seen this message countless times, urging everyone to take part in thwarting terrorism. According to the MTA, the campaign is “a key piece of the region’s security infrastructure and a simple reminder that we are all the first line of defense.” The message is simple, memorable, and in six words mobilizes millions. In the last 10 years, the strength of our convictions has built greater camaraderie among us.
But we all know camaraderie among fans is different; it’s far more passive. We all know of the drunk rowdies shouting expletives about players’ wives while in the company of children, yet fellow fans, as disgusted as they might be, are reluctant to speak up. Nobody actually wants to be the whistle blower, the tattletale of the stadium.
As detailed in this article from the Examiner.com, fans at race tracks around the country are urged to call or text any concerns that they have to a centralized help center. While security at most stadiums is quite good, who hasn’t pondered the thought between innings that, “Gee there are a lot of people packed on here…”
What really attracted my interest though was how a simple idea and ubiquitous technology make so much sense for improving the fan experience. Will the guest center get a text that that hot dog concession is out of ketchup or that the mobile popcorn vendor was a bit terse? Probably not. Will they get one about the drunk fan two rows down cursing a blue streak for everyone, including the kids in attendance, to hear? Definitely. All this with complete anonymity, and the reporting fan doesn’t miss a pitch, free throw, or lap. The fact that the complaint improves the experience for many and does so immediately makes this a wonderful feature all stadiums should employ and feature prominently.
Fan camaraderie can affect our better judgment, but by employing this technology, thinking “someone else can handle that problem” will no longer be the initial instinct. Like good citizens concerned about the welfare of their country, good fans must speak up to ensure a positive experience for all.