Cheers, answers to trivia questions, and maybe even a few marriage proposals will bombard the video board at Sun Devil Stadium this fall, straight from the fans’ cell phones.
Verizon Wireless, as part of its sponsorship of Arizona State University athletics, has introduced a diversion for spectators.
Starting at ASU’s home opener on Sept. 1 against Temple University, the matrix board will show a short code number that fans can text message before each game. Moments later, text will show up on the 54-by-40-foot screen.
"We are very excited to introduce this new technology that gives fans the capability to communicate with the team, the university, and with other fans who are at the game," Verizon spokesman Jenny Weaver said.
The TXT-2-Screen technology is not limited to Verizon customers. Anybody with text messaging capability can send a message, and it costs whatever a regular text message costs for that person’s plan.
Fans with the fastest fingers can also answer a trivia question displayed on the matrix board during the game using their text messaging. Those who answer the question correctly get a reply text and are put in a pool to win a prize.
Verizon will filter the messages before they are aired, eliminating any that contain offensive subject matter.
"Realizing that going to the game is a family experience," Weaver said, "we want to make sure that the messages have appropriate content."
The wireless provider has offered similar capabilities in the past, such as at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas and at several concerts, but it is the first time Verizon has brought this technology to ASU athletics.
Cullen Maxey, general manager for Sun Devil Sports Marketing, said Verizon’s sponsorship is mutually beneficial.
"It’s a win-win situation for both of us," Maxey said. "It lets Verizon highlight its technology, and for us the more entertaining you can make the fan experience will help you sell more tickets."
Maxey said he hopes the TXT-2-Screen feature is just the first step in interacting with the sports fans.
"It’ll be fun to unveil, but we’d also like to use the technology and roll with it as well," he said.
Verizon also said it added two new digital cell sites on ASU’s main campus to meet the growing demand of cell phone users. A cell site is what the company uses to process calls, and each one can only handle so many calls per hour.
The addition of the cell sites will enable more calls from more places across the campus.