New York Times Covers NFL’s Use of RTLS

The story highlights the advance metrics that Zebra's solution provides, but never actually calls it what it is.
Published: September 1, 2015

Last Sunday, I was sitting out on my deck having breakfast and reading the sports section of The New York Times. I was pleasantly surprised to find an article about the National Football League (NFL)’s use of Zebra Technologies‘ active, ultra-wideband (UWB) RFID system to track players on the field and deliver detailed statistics to fans (see
The NFL’s Next Generation Statistics, RFID Drafted to Track NFL Players’ Every Move During Games and Zebra MotionWorks Scrutinizes Athletic Performance).

“Fans watching on television and following on the Internet will be able to see how fast and far players are running, how far offensive players are from their defenders and other statistics and data-driven graphics,” the story says.

Interestingly, the story never accurately describes the system deployed. It says that the solution uses “radio frequency technology,” “beacons” and “radio frequency chips.” The story never mentions the term radio frequency identification, however, and a caption erroneously states, “Zebra Technologies employees at MetLife Stadium wore transmitters that sent signals to GPS receivers the company installed.”

The Times may feel the term “radio frequency identification” is too geeky, or it may simply be inaccurate in its reporting. I find that interesting, as I see ads on television for wallets that claim they can prevent the reading of radio frequency identification tags in credit cards. And other major newspapers, including the The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, all seem to have no fear of using the term “RFID.” Perhaps the Old Gray Lady just isn’t up on the latest technology, but at least she’s giving the technology some positive coverage.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor’s Note archive or RFID Connect.