Eight Communities Submit Bids To Host 2016 & 2017 College Football National Championship Game

Home of the first College Football Playoff semifinal game in 2015.
Home of the first College Football Playoff semifinal game in 2015.

Eight communities have submitted official bids to host the 2016 and 2017 College Football National Championship Games.. The games will be played on January 11, 2016 and January 9, 2017, the second and third years of the new playoff respectively.

Four communities submitted bids for 2016 while six communities submitted bids for 2017. Two communities, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay, submitted bids for both years. By rule, no community can host the Championship Game two years in a row. Arizona, Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tampa Bay submitted bids for 2016. The Bay Area, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, San Antonio, South Florida and Tampa Bay submitted bids for 2017.

“This shows the tremendous popularity of college football. Obviously, communities across our country want to be part of the new playoff,” said Bill Hancock in a statement released by College Football Playoff. Hancock is the Executive Director of the College Football Playoff. “College football is a national sport, and rotating the game will bring it to more fans where they live. This is a compelling feature of the playoff, and one which will make this sport even more popular. We’re thrilled with the response from these fine communities and look forward to evaluating their proposals.”

Starting next year, the College Football Playoff will include two semifinal games on New Years Eve and a National Championship Game. The Rose Bowl will be the site of the first semifinal and the Sugar Bowl will be the site of the second semifinal.

Cowboys Stadium, which is hosting the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four, will host the inaugural College Football National Championship Game on January 12, 2015.

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Reports of Modern-Day Slavery Plague World Cup Construction in Qatar

Al Khalifa Stadium Doha
18,000 new seats will be installed in Al Khalifa Stadium. (Via D@LY3D)

The Guardian is reporting that thousands of Nepalese migrant laborers in Qatar are facing exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery as the country builds towards the 2022 World Cup.

Immigrants have been brought into Qatar to help build the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup. Development plans for the 2022 tournament include building stadiums, roads, and transportation centers. Plans currently call for four stadiums in Doha including the expansion Al Khalifa Stadium (pictured above) by approximately 18,000 seats.

The Guardian’s investigation revealed evidence of forced labor by migrant workers. Some Nepalese men have alleged that they have not been paid for months and have had their salaries retained to stop them from running away. Some workers on other sites say employers routinely confiscate passports and refuse to issue ID cards, in effect reducing them to the status of illegal aliens. In the report, laborers also claimed they have been denied access to drinking water.

In addition, the Nepalese embassy in Doha reports that at least 44 workers died between June 4th and August 8th.

In 1930, the International Labor Organization voted to include forced labor in their definition of slavery stating that the act of slavery included: “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.” Nearly two decades later, slavery was prohibited by the United Nations under the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 1956 UN supplementary convention more broadly defined modern-day slavery as “debt bondage, serfdom, forced marriage and the delivery of a child for the exploitation of that child are all slavery-like practices and require criminalisation and abolishment.”

Last year, Human Rights Watch launched a campaign to expose the abuses of migrant workers in Doha. The 146-page report, “Building a Better World Cup,” examines a “recruitment and employment system that effectively traps many migrant workers in their jobs. The problems include exorbitant recruitment fees, which often take workers years to pay off, coupled with Qatar’s restrictive employer sponsorship system and the employers’ routine confiscation of worker passports, granting employers inordinate control over the workers.”

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New Ticketing Platform Will Allow Breeders’ Cup Patrons To Resell Tickets Back To Venue

Breeders Cup World ChampionshipsThe Breeders’ Cup will be adding a new ticketing feature to their existing ticketing program which will give patrons more flexibility and security when purchasing tickets for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. TicketResell by SeatAdvisor is an online tool that allows patrons to resell tickets they can no longer use back to the Breeders’ Cup primary ticket inventory. The Breeders’ Cup, Thoroughbred racing’s premier international event, held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 1-2, 2013, will be the first event in the horse racing industry to offer this functionality to their patrons.

The TicketResell technology is a first for the ticketing industry and was developed by SeatAdvisor, a global ticketing software company and the official box office software provider of the Breeders’ Cup since 2008. With TicketResell, if patrons are no longer able to attend the event, they are now able to resell event tickets directly through online accounts held with the Breeders’ Cup. A desired resell price is set, and tickets are then added to available inventory, accessible to new buyers at the box office, online, or over the phone. Upon being sold, sellers are able to recoup the original cost of the tickets or more, less a minimal servicing fee.

SeatAdvisor“We understand that even after purchasing tickets some of our guests may not be able to attend, and other patrons may wish to purchase tickets for a section that is currently sold out,” said Brandy Stoeckinger, Director of Ticketing at the Breeders’ Cup. “This new offering from SeatAdvisor provides an added convenience to our patrons. It also creates more secure access to tickets removing the risk of counterfeiting.”

SeatAdvisor, Inc. works with more than 3,000 venues in the arts and sports market throughout the U.S., Australia, Europe, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico and Caribbean. In addition to the Breeders’ Cup, several other horse racing venues utilize SeatAdvisor’s box office software including Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Arlington Park.

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Technology Partnerships Aim to Enhance the Live Sports Experience

Stadium sponsorships have come a long way from having a few signs and banners around the field. New stadiums, such as the San Francisco 49ers new home next year, Levi’s Stadium, cost over $1 billion to build. Higher investment fees mean there is a need to attract more fans, sponsors and events than ever before. This can be achieved through creating a unique and seamless live experience for fans by developing corporate partnerships to make the most of emerging technologies. As television broadcasts and internet coverage become more advanced, the live game experience has to be transformed into something that can’t be replicated at home.

It was recently announced that Levi’s Stadium have been working with Sony, their official technology partner, to create a venue where spectators don’t have to worry about missing a minute of the action. A mobile app will be introduced to find the shortest food, drink and bathroom lines. Fans can follow the game while out of their seat by taking advantage of the stadium-wide high speed Wi-Fi that will give access to coverage of the game via audio, choice of camera angles and replays. The Wi-Fi network will also enable fans to purchase merchandise from their seats, view exclusive content and game stats, and share the experience on social networks. Future technological advancements for Levi’s Stadium are already being planned with an aim for the venue to run on a cashless and ticketless system.

Another billion-dollar NFL stadium, AT&T Stadium, formerly known as Cowboys Stadium, opened in 2009 with 3,000 high definition television screens throughout the venue. Cisco created a system for the stadium that can allow each screen to play individualized content. The screens were strategically placed to surround fans at almost all times with game coverage, information and advertising. Aiming to keep everything bigger in Texas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones entered a venture with Mitsubishi to install the biggest HD screen in the world at the time. The result was a unique 4-sided HD screen hanging from the center of the stadium that cost $40 million.

AT&T Stadium. Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo
AT&T Stadium
Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo
In 2011, the Charlotte Motor Speedway bettered the Cowboys by unveiling the world’s largest HD screen in partnership with Panasonic. The battle to be the biggest and the best continued earlier this month with the Houston Texans showing off their new video screens from Mitsubishi Electric at Reliant Park, part of their preparation for hosting the 2017 Super Bowl. Not to be outdone by their professional counterparts, UNLV’s new 60,000-seat stadium proposal calls for a 100-yard-long video screen which developers are calling the “world’s largest multimedia immersive experience.”

Whether at the game or at home, fans are always looking for the next progression in replays so they can analyze the action closer than ever before. Replay Technologies partnered with Yankee Stadium earlier this year to showcase its revolutionary freeD technology, which creates a 360-degree replay of the action. The Dallas Cowboys are the next in line to try out this technology that combines footage from multiple ultra-definition (4 times greater than HD) cameras. It will make its NFL when the Cowboys face the New York Giants on September 8.

freeD Yankee Stadium from Replay Technologies.com on Vimeo.

Yinzcam is, another in-stadium technology company that is aiming to turn casual supporters into loyal fans. A selection of professional teams from football, soccer, hockey and basketball have joined forces with Yinzcam in creating mobile apps that offer ticketholders a variety of features to keep them fully informed while at the game including the opportunity to watch replays, listen to audio and check out the statistics.

FanVision has been operating since 2011 and provides similar features to Yinzcam except that it is through a dedicated console that is connected to the venues network (so no download or streaming required). FanVision can be purchased by fans throughout the NASCAR season and will be available during the upcoming US Open of Tennis.

Technology has become a pivotal part of today’s sports industry. Sport is a lucrative business for corporate sponsors due to the passionate nature of sports fans. Technology allows spectators to be closer than ever to the action, wherever they are. The challenge for venues is keeping the game at the center of the experience while giving the fans something that is personal, interactive and unique.

Sophia Indja is a freelance writer and business assistant who specializes in the areas of sports, health and fitness. She is an avid surfer who enjoys playing sports as much as she loves keeping up with the latest news and trends in the industry.

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