Opinion: Bluetooth is not the colour when it comes to football technology

Columns & Opinion, Mobile phones

Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes… We’ve all experienced it, walking or driving past a mysterious embedded Bluetooth advert somewhere that tries to download itself to your phone automatically because the BT is switched on, ready to receive on your handset.

Of course, you’ve got the option to decline it and unless you are very stupid, you will do so because that download could be anything, from a mobile-type virus to porn.

But now a firm called Bluepod Media is hoping to deluge us with adverts each time we step inside the football stadium of our favourite team.

The ‘Bluetooth marketing specialists’ has signed deals with leading football clubs including Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, West Ham, Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic, Wolves(?) and Celtic.

It comes after trials at Pompey and Brum that lets advertisers offer content to fans on match days for free. Supporters pay nothing but the brands per per download, between 40p and 70p for each one. And when you consider more than 6,000 Portsmouth fans downloaded a movie trailer recently, that’s a lot of cash.

What I don’t like though is the idea I could be inundated with these Bluetooth requests when I am trying to watch the football. I’m a season ticket holder at Tottenham Hotspur and editor of SpursPies.tv, one of Tech Digest’s sibling blogs.

I’m not naive to think that this kind of technology is going to go away, it is a good way to get a message across. It’s interactive, easy and above all, visually appealing.

But unless it is restricted, we are forever going to be hitting the reject keys on our handsets. Once more advertisers catch on to the positives, they will all be climbing on the bandwagon and that means more and more Bluetooth requests clogging up the airwaves.

John Scorah, managing director of Bluepod Media, said: “Brands waste millions of pounds targeting football fans on match days via traditional media which is both uninspiring and not measurable. We now offer brands the opportunity to create a one-to-one relationship with fans that adds value to their matchday experience.”

To be honest, the only one-to-one relationship I want when I go to a football match is between me and my team. No-one else! Let them advertise in the programme, let them advertise on the hoardings. Let them advertise on the big Jumbotron TV screen. But don’t come a calling on my mobile phone.

Eventually, it will have the reverse effect. For while it is fun the first few times, after than it’ll become a pain in the behind and the numbers of acceptances will simply plummet.

According to Bluepod, the total attendance at Premier League football clubs last season was 12.9 million people. That’s a heck of a lot of people to turn the air Blue… with anger at being Bluetooth spammed!

Jonathan Weinberg
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