The National Football League (NFL) announced in-game player tracking technology today for 17 stadiums for the 2014 season. And, while limited to a little more than half the buildings in the league, the NFL is doing things differently than other leagues. RFID tracking chips will be placed on every player at some point this season–two of them–to allow the NFL to measure something the NBA and NASCAR don’t: player orientation. Is this a way to improve the fan experience, or is it just creating data for data’s sake? The league calls this initiative “Next Generation Statistics,” and they plan to pipe the insights primarily into stadiums hosting NFL’s Thursday Night Football on the league’s own television network, the NFL Network. “From those 17 stadiums, specifically,” explains Vishal Shah, NFL vice president of media strategy, “we’ll be capturing position- and location-based data.

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