Patents in Sports: Stadium Incentives

Watching a sporting event in person is something all fans enjoy doing. Being able to take in the game live allows for fans to come together with other fans, take in the side attractions and stores in the arena, cheer on your team to help motivate players and sway referees, and it allows to take note of the intricate details not seen on TV. It all makes going to the game special. However, some fans are finding it not worth the effort and prefer to stay at home to watch a game.

As discussed in the previous post, innovations in TV have made enticing for fans to stay at home to watch games when there are numerous drawbacks to going to a game in person. At home you don’t have to worry about traffic, paying for parking, or the tickets, or food, no need to worry about belligerent fans, and at home you can change the channel to a different game if your team is losing in an embarrassing fashion. This is why stadiums have gone to great lengths to incentivize fans to come out and watch their team play. Here are some patents that have helped improve the in game experience.

The very first foam finger

Cheering on your favourite team at your stadium is a big part of going to games. That includes wearable merchandise from hats, shirts, and jerseys to the infamous foam finger. Before its creation, fans faced the serious issue of how to best proclaim their team to be “#1”. How was one supposed to show that they wanted an exaggerated hand to cheer on his or her team? An answer finally came in 1971 when Steve Chmelar (pictured above) created one for a Iowa high school basketball game. Geral Fauss, a high school teacher in Texas, also created the design in 1978 for his high schools football team. Fauss would go on to start his own business making and selling the novelty team items. They are now a mainstay at sporting events and the unlucky fans that must sit behind them have Chmelar and Fauss to blame.

Bottoms Up Beer Dispensary

Bottoms Up Beer Dispensary

When at the game fans often partake in beer from the concessions to help keep them hydrated. In fact, 40% of fans leaving a baseball or football game have some alcohol in their system, according to a study from 2011. With so many people getting drinks, very long lines are formed and people being to miss the game that’s taking place. That is where the Bottoms Up Beer Dispensing System comes in handy. Their invention allows for the beer cups to be filled from the bottom of the cup (pictured above) with no hands due to the valves shutting off once a certain amount of liquid has been released. This leads too much quicker times for beer transactions so fans can catch more of the action.


When fans are at the game some things just can’t be seen from their vantage point. That is where the jumbotron comes into play. The jumbotron is usually the most eye-catching thing in a stadium. Originally the Jumbotron was an official Sony trademark until 2001 when they stopped manufacturing them and allowed for jumbotron to become a generic trademark. It is one of the most crucial parts of a stadium and can be very useful for those who need to see a replay or can’t see the action from their seats. Below is an image of the Dallas Cowboys jumbotron.

All of these things help incentivize fans to come out to the game. At a time where more and more people are watching the games form home it is critical for teams that they bring people out to the game to help cheer them on in their home arena.


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