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Just like nearly every other segment of business, the NFL seems to have caught a case of tablet fever. The Indianapolis Colts recently dropped some significant dead-tree weight when the team decided to switch from a paper-based playbooks to Global Apptitude’s digital playbook.
A typical NFL playbook is hefty, sometimes close to 800 pages, and must be distributed to around 50 players and 20 coaches, according to an article in The Telegraph.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano knew that this year was the right time to move beyond the old paper format and into the digital era with tablet-based playbooks. To that end, he made the decision to buy 120 iPad devices for Colts players and coaches, as BizTech reported in "A Tech Touchdown," our feature story on the Colts.
Jeff Teles, CEO of Global Apptitude, says his company aimed to improve collaboration and strategizing for professional sports with its playbook app, which boasts hundreds of features, including the ability to draw and annotate in the playbook, share content with teammates and sort and filter plays.
“We wanted to make life easier,” he says.
Anecdotally, players are spending more time with the videos and playbooks, Teles says. This mirrors exactly what Colts coaches observed with the tablet pilot last year, according to Ryan Fannin, the team’s director of football information systems.
That means that iPads aren’t just saving trees — they’re also potentially giving the Colts a competitive edge.
The distribution of the iPad devices, while important, was only one piece of a larger technology makeover for the Colts. The team also beefed up its Wi-Fi capabilities at its headquarters and training facility, which increases mobile computing access for players, coaching staff and media. Additionally, the team invested significantly in technology to improve the fan experience, with its very own fan app for iOS and Android mobile devices as well as the IT infrastructure needed to power it.
Through the app, fans in the stadium can watch instant replays five seconds after plays happen on the field. Fans also have access to parking information, real-time stats, news, multimedia and more.
To get the full picture, check out our infographic depicting the Colts’ complete IT transformation, below.