Sports venue captioning – Done Right!

19 10 2010


Silicon Valley shows San Francisco Giants how to use a stadium intranet for profit

When I learned how the public address system captioning is done at Giants baseball games at AT&T Park in San Francisco, I was quite surprised at how advanced it really is. The system is called FanCaption, and it’s quite successful. It’s actually part of a free market solution, because it’s integrated into the FanConnex “Digital Dugout” stadium/arena intranet system, which provides for the fan experience so crucial for sports venue success. It’s a Free Market solution that just happens to have captioning for the hearing impaired.

Do you want to see a replay? How about the batting average of a player, or the speed of the last pitch? Perhaps a between-innings interview of a player or coach? Would you like a hot dog and coke, delivered right to your seat? How about a souvenir cap and jersey? Did one of the stadium photographers walking around snap your picture? Just a couple of touches on your mobile and the food, beverage, souvenir and photo products are delivered right to your seat, with no waiting in concession lines. And if you don’t have a mobile, there are several hundred iPod Touch units at each stadium to loan. Oh, and By The Way: If you have trouble hearing the PA announcements, just click on FanCaptions and there they are, delivered in a scrollable Twitter -style news feed.


Unlike standalone PA captioning schemes that stand alone, such as the four display signs around FedEx Field in Washington, DC that don’t really enhance the perceived value for normal hearing people, FanCaption is integrated into a system that is designed to generate concession revenue, with the captions “tagging along” for the free ride.

San Francisco’s AT&T Park was the first to roll out the “Digital Dugout” with FanCaptions in 2008, with technology partners AT&T, Apple and Cisco. The Milwaukee Brewers rolled out FanCaptions in June 2009; and this season the Oakland Athletics, across the Bay from San Fran, rolled out the system.

Baseball season is in the middle round of the playoffs, and San Francisco only has three more home games before it’s lights out until April. And because FanCaption is web based, anyone can see it in action Tuesday evening (UK time). Just go here to the Giants Digital Dugout where you can see the actual captions in progress for Tuesday night’s game starting at 9PM UK time (1PM Pacific). The 4th game of the series (schedule) is Wednesday 4:30PM Pacific (12:30AM UK), and the 5th game is Thursday 4:30PM Pacific (12:30AM UK)… And then it’s lights out until April 2011.

Sports franchises should take a look at this system, as it will provide profits as well as legal compliance for their venues. With even LFC just fetching £300 million, the pressure is on for teams to generate positive cash flow and produce profits.

Roll on, London Olympics 2012!



If you are interested in supplying a captioning service to your sports venue, contact O’Malley Communications in London or Mike at FanConnex in California.



Adam’s cochlear implant and his helmet play football!

17 06 2010

Adam Strecker received his football helmet a few weeks ago, adapted for his cochlear implant.

He has a Twitter page which he will update during the football season so people can follow his progress and how he is getting on with his helmet.

If you have any questions, you can post them on his Twitter page.



Deaf sailing

13 06 2010

A Deaf Sailing UK member will be sailing his own Laser Stratos at 10am on Sunday 27th June at Queen Mary Sailing Club for up to 3 or 4 hours.

Please put down your name with Mike Aston on and DSUK will arrange a fleet of Laser Statros, Bahia or Laser 2000 to hire from the club for you to sail. If there is more than 12 or 15 people, there shall be four or five boats for the whole session from 10 am to 2pm. DSUK will negotiate the special price with the club.

Members can sign and lip read, so no need to worry about communication!

You can bring friends / partners to the clubhouse where they can watch the full view of all the boats on the reservoir. Queen Mary Sailing Club can lend out some life buoyancy from its own hiring facility. Usually, they charge £8 for wetsuit gear and £2 for Buoyancy Aid /Harness, but they are free with their boat hire.

The club already have three Oylmpic hopefuls lined up for 2012 – Andrew Mills, 21, who sails in the Finn with three time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie, and Oscar McVeigh, 17, and George Spedding, 15, who are both in the national junior teams. The club operates one or two RIBs on the water to observe all the boats there.

Come and meet other deaf sailors! The event is also on Facebook – join the DSUK Facebook group to be informed of future sailing sessions and social events.

Deaf Sailing UK website

Helmets and cochlear implants

21 05 2010

Today, Adam Strecker was fitted with a helmet to wear while playing football. What’s unusual is that Adam is the first person to be fitted with a helmet specially adapted for a cochlear implant.  The company who designed this helmet plan to supply cochlear implant-suitable baseball helmets and motorcycle helmets.  I think a martial arts helmet would also be a fabulous addition to the range. We’ll just have to wait and see. Very exciting!

Adam’s magnet was in the usual position and he has no problems with the helmet padding, he says his helmet felt like a custom made item. It sure looks the business and a very cool piece of kit.

At a later date, I hope to add some feedback from Adam on how he likes being able to hear whilst playing football. So watch this space!

This helmet is available from Dave Lamm at AAA Sales (515-745-2531) for about $350.

Article: New technology keeps him in the game.


Alternatively, you can try a Giro Indicator Universal fit helmet. This has a slight gap in the back/rear sides with just enough room for a cochlear implant processor, and the rear strap goes over the processor. You can add a huggie (from Advanced Bionics)  for additional security (see page 7 of the Harmony Product Guide) or you can try a skeleton earmold from Westone. It is like an open hearing aid earmould, and you put the T-mic through it.

One CI user uses a Giro G10 helmet.  The “In Form” system makes it easy to dial in a custom fit.  He sets the dial wide open, at it’s largest fit, puts on the helmet and dials it down.  When he turns the dial down the guts of the helmet conforms to his head.   He wears a balaclava (a ski mask) or a low profile beanie under the helmet which makes a world of difference in keeping the magnet and processor in place, and prevents accidental volume adjustments.  It has speakers in the ear pads off to the side so if you have your iPhone/iPod you can listen to tunes on a powder day. (With thanks to Dwyerrobe)


If it’s a hard hat you’re after, check out this Elite safety helmet available from Greenham.

Take your hard hat along to show your surgeon and ask him to place your implant lower to avoid the internal plastic webbing.

With thanks to Dan from Essex for the hat tip!

London deaf netball tournament, November 3rd, 2007

8 10 2007

The London Deaf Netball Tournament will be held on Saturday 3 November 2007, between 10.00am and 5.00pm.

The venue is the Camden Town Outdoor Centre, on the corner of Plender Street and Camden Street. The nearest tube is Camden Town or Mornington Crescent.

The cost is £45 per team (maximum 9 players).

For the first time ever there will be a Demonstration Match for the men at lunch break. It will be London V Allies. Afterwards, there will be a presentation and social party in Camden Town.

Ladies – To play netball and organise a team for the tournament, please ask your rep to contact London Deaf Netball for a team registration form.

Men – If you are interested in joining either the London team or the Allies team, please get in touch with London Deaf Netball directly.

For more info, contact Jessica Wilde or Melly Scacco-Mudawi.

Email or

Deaf sailing

30 08 2007

If you have not booked a week’s holiday in September or a weekend in October, then here is your chance!

DSUK (Deaf Sailing UK) have a few places left for one week’s cruise to France and Channel Islands with Rona Trust from Monday 10 to Sunday 16 September. Costs only £175 including full board accommodation on yacht.

Also RYA Dinghy Level 1 course weekend on Sat 13- Sun 14 October at Sussex Yacht Club with qualified Deaf Instructor and 4 qualified Deaf Assistant Instructors! Costs to be confirmed but around £70.

Also if you are between 15 and 25 years of age, you can take part in a thrilling sailing weekend on Fri 5- Sun 7 October with Rona Trust and participate in a “Small Ships” race with other small ships! Costs £75.

All information is on the DSUK website.

Book ASAP to avoid disappointment! And ……. happy sailing 🙂

Deaf Sailing UK : see here
For links to other deaf sailing organisations, see here

New yoga classes for deaf people in London

30 08 2007

with Sarah Scott
Thursdays 7.30 &­ 9.30pm
Commencing Sept 20th 2007

Sarah Scott is partially deaf and a qualified Inner Yoga practitioner. Since 1984 she has experienced the teachings of some of the most respected yoga teachers and has developed her own unique way of sharing yoga with people of all abilities. Sarah’s classes are taught in sign language with vocal instruction on request for those who do not sign. Sarah’s teaching aims to guide people through an exploration of ‘being’ yoga.

2a Wrentham Avenue
London NW10 3HA

Tel. 020 8968 1900
Website : Special Yoga
Email :

Registered charity number: 1103848

Drop-in: £7.
Concessions: £3.50.

Please contact The Special Yoga Centre to book your place in advance.

For information on yoga workshops and all classes in London for deaf people, click here