Professional football, America’s most popular and profitable sport, is preparing to tackle a glaring weakness: Stadiums are increasingly empty.
As part of sweeping changes designed to give teams more flexibility to fill their seats, the National Football League is watering down its controversial TV “blackout” rule. And this season, for the first time, fans in the stadium will be able to watch the same instant replays the referees see during reviews of controversial calls.
The league also is planning to introduce wireless Internet in every stadium and to create smartphone apps that could let fans listen to players wearing microphones on the field.
With declines in ticket sales each of the past five years, average game attendance is down 4.5% since 2007, while broadcast and online viewership is soaring.
In hopes that professional football can mimic the wild stadium atmosphere typical of college football games, the NFL says it has “liberalized” its restraints on crowd noise. Stadiums will now be free to rile up crowds with video displays, and public-address announcers will no longer be restrained from inciting racket when the opposing offense faces a crucial third down.
Read more – Game Changer: NFL Scrambles to Fill Seats
Airbnb is disrupting the hotel industry.
As of February 2012, 5 million guest nights have been booked worldwide since the site’s launch in 2007, with a 500% growth in the past year and accommodations in over 19,000 cities.
I’ve now stayed at two properties (one in San Diego and one in Santa Barbara) and I’m officially on the Airbnb bandwagon. Here’s why:
1. Comfort: After traveling so much in my career, I’ve grown weary of the generic, cookie cutter look and feel of hotel rooms, even 5-star accommodations. Staying at an AirBnb is like staying at a friend’s house, with all the comforts and spaciousness of a home, like a kitchen and a comfy living room with books and magazines to peruse.
2. Amenities: I’ve started to deplore how hotels nickel and dime guests, especially when it comes to wifi and water. Both Airbnbs I’ve stayed at offered free, secure wifi and purified drinking water. It might sound trivial, but I feel like water and wifi should be included in a guest’s stay. And at our Santa Barbara rental, the owner provided two bikes, with bike locks and helmets for guests. I can’t tell you how awesome it was to arrive and jump right onto the bike to explore the city. Plus, there was free street parking just feet away from the entrances at both properties.
3. Cost: Bottom line, you get a lot more for a lot less at an Airbnb. And you don’t have to pay for all the hidden costs of hotels.
Not all people will love Airbnb (especially those enamored by turn-down and room service). But I get a feeling a growing number of folks will like what Airbnb has to offer (on both the demand and supply side) and it’s going to take a big bite out of the hotel industry pie.
When Kenneth G. Lieberthal, a China expert at the Brookings Institution, travels to that country, he follows a routine that seems straight from a spy film.
He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, “the Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop.”
Via NY Times
Advice for travelling to China…or good advice for everyday life?