The next time you’re cheering on the San Diego State Aztecs at Viejas Arena, know you’re being watched from above.
A San Diego State University alumnus is one of the co-founders of a new app called FanPics.
During crucial moments of the game-- like a slam dunk, three-point buzzer beater, a steal or fast break-- their camera technology captures fans’ reactions. Camera units are installed around the perimeter of Viejas Arena and triggered during these moments.
“Timing is everything. It's all about capturing that moment of joy or fear. And in sports, you have a wide range of emotions whether your team is winning or losing,” Marco Correia said.
To use the app on your iPhone or Android, you type in your row and seat number, and the photos appear with a caption. Then, you can share those photos on social media.
SDSU Associate Athletic Director Steve Schnall says they’re happy to bring this new app to Aztecs games. He says it's all about enhancing the fan experience.
“With HD it’s very easy to sit at home and watch the game. So what’s going to bring that experience and make it something you can absolutely not experience at home?” Schnall said.
But what if you don’t want your photo taken or distributed on social media?
Kim Gough from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego says when you go to a big sporting event, you should expect that to happen. There are signs around the arena telling fans they’ll be filmed.
Capturing photos of fans isn't illegal, but Gough has one concern.
“Now it is attached to your Facebook, Instagram, Vine, to all these other social media sites. What happens beyond that point? It’s not just taking a picture and walking out. Now it proliferates to a whole other market and a different part of the world because of technology,” Gough said. “You think you’re taking a picture and there’s a whole lot of activity that could happen in the back end that you know nothing about.”
Students on the SDSU campus had a mixed reaction to the app.
“It kinda sounds a lot like being on the Jumbotron. You go to the game expecting to be seen,” freshman Garrett Stanton said.
“It’s not for me, but for some people, I think it’s fun. If my picture showed up, I wouldn’t even know because who would say ‘hey, there you are,’” graduate student Ian Pierce said.
“I think it’s a good way to rally the school spirit and to see everyone get into the game,” graduate student Lindsay Miller said.
Correia says they take privacy concerns seriously. They are working on adding new features including ticket code integration where only you can look at your seat and a function to blur your face.
“People have been focusing on the court for a long time, and this is the first time we're getting to focus on the people themselves,” Correia said.
Correia and his team dream that FanPics will one day be at every venue in the world.