Puck Daddy

How the Danbury Whalers are bringing the sounds on the ice to fans in the stands

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

The sights and sounds of a sporting event are best captured by either having really expensive tickets close to the ice/field/court, or by watching the magic that the people from NFL Films have been doing for years.

The Federal Hockey League's Danbury Whalers are hoping to take the on- and off-the-ice atmosphere and bring it to the fans in their rink this season by partnering with Action Audio Apps. All fans who attend Whalers home game this season can purchase an access code for a downloadable app for their smart phone on a game by game basis and switch between a number of different channels to hear players and coaches during the game.

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Select players and coaches from the Whalers will be mic'd up, just like you'd see on a television broadcast, and the app will also feature pre-game and in-between period interviews with players and coaches.

Sebastien Failla started tinkering with this idea in 1998, using low level broadcast over FM bandwidths. Fan would rent receivers, but now with the use of an app, anyone who owns a smart phone can experience it.

The broadcast will begin around an hour before the puck drops and that time will be filled with pre-game interviews. Once the final buzzer sounds the broadcast will end, unless it's a win for the Whalers; then there could be some postgame content with reactions from players and coaches. If there's a big speech between periods, that will be available to customers as well, but only if the team doesn't want to keep it private.

"It's a produced show, not just an open mic where you're listening to the players constantly," said Failla. "Everything comes back to our production board where we could even edit stuff if we have to, mute something or kill something, we can do that."

But the editing won't include the salty language hockey coaches players are prone to use during a game. There will be no 7-second delay in the live broadcast and fans must be 18 or older in order to purchase the $8 access code per game.

Right now Action Audio Apps is using hockey as their first event with the Whalers home opener on Oct. 25, but they hope to break into other sports. They've discussed using the app with other sports teams at various levels for regular games and special events, such as All-Star games.

YinzCam has been providing fans the ability to watch replays instantly from their seat inside the stadium, but being able to sit up in the cheap seats and hear the interaction -- and trash talk -- between players and coaches via an audio app definitely adds to the all-important in-game experience that teams have been trying to improve for years.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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