Vikings considering the Kangaroo

The Vikings are looking into the possibilities of offering Kangaroo TV (which is being renamed Game Day Vision) to season ticket holders. The device allows fans in the stadium to get highlights and scores from other games around the league.

The Vikings used to have their purple dinosaur, Vikadontis Rex, as a kid-friendly mascot. This year, they might introduce a kangaroo as an adult entertainment system in the Metrodome.

Kangaroo TV, which has been purchased by Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross and is being renamed Game Day Vision, is offering NFL teams the opportunity to use 5,000 Kangaroo TV systems for their season ticket base in exchange for marketing opportunities. The Vikings are looking into the possibilities, according to vice president of marketing Steve LaCroix.

According to the Kangaroo TV web site, the product has already partnered with the Dolphins in the venture.

"(Users) will be able to follow exclusive Dolphins content, watch other NFL games, check on stats of their fantasy league players or even order food from the concessions directly from their seat in the stadium," the site says. "The new Kangaroo TV will be a valued tool for Dolphins fans beyond the stadium and through WiFi connectivity, link them to an exclusive sports community – even when they're not at the stadium."

One of the things the Vikings need to figure out is if the device would even operate efficiently in the Metrodome, which opened in 1982 and isn't always up-to-date with modern technology.

"We're going to look into it, but our building, as we all know, is very dated and challenging from a premium seating (option) or lack thereof," LaCroix said.

Most of the NFL teams considering using Game Day Vision have a club seating area that would make it easier to distribute the devices and easier to operate in a limited area. The Vikings don't have club seating at Mall of America Field.

"Our stadium is just so dated compared to some of these newer ones that it's just not apples to apples," LaCroix said. "That's another thing we're going to look at is what's the right fit for our building. With our lease ending in 2011, is this the right time to do it or not?"

LaCroix said some NASCAR fans would be familiar with the technology and compared it to watching the view from the race car of their favorite driver or listening to the radio signal between the driver and pit crew.

Vikings executives have maintained the past couple of years that the increased usage of big-screen, high-definition televisions has hurt their ability to sell tickets, but having the Game Day Vision device available to fans at the stadium could lure them off the couch and back into the stadium, as they will still be able to watch highlights from other games, just as they would if they were in front of their own TV.

"It tries to bring some of that TV viewing experience into the home stadium so that you can maybe track the other games going on around the league while you're sitting there and watching the Vikings game," LaCroix said. "That's part of the position of how they see this being a fan amenity."

Ross made a presentation to NFL owners this week at their annual meetings in Orlando.

"I only saw him briefly this morning, but he was very positive about it," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said of Ross on Wednesday at the end of the meetings. "I've heard a lot of good comments from the clubs. I think he told me already well over half of the clubs initially indicated an interest in implementing the Kangaroo system for next season. So, I think that's a pretty strong reaction in that period of time."

The device looks like a digital camera and has a 4.3-inch LCD screen with HD compatibility, 10 channels of video and audio, and is WiFi enabled, according to the web site.

LaCroix said the Vikings had heard of the technology before, but the Vikings have several questions about implementation before they can get into serious discussions about them: Would they be on a loaner basis to season ticket holders for the season? Would they be rented or purchased? Would the Metrodome's technology even support their use and, if not, what would it cost to make that happen?

If the Vikings' questions about the stadium and the devices are answered positively, they could be seen at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome in 2010.

"It just becomes a matter of, is now the right time? Technology changes so quickly," LaCroix said. "We just have to get a little better feel for how different it is from the past offerings and where's it going in the future."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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